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Team launches new ADDFab effort for Additive Manufacturing

March 20, 2015 in News

In the summer of 2014, new additive manufacturing equipment was acquired to launch the advanced design and fabrication (ADDFab) research and development effort of the College of Engineering. ADDFab is a part of the new Center for Personalized Health Monitoring (CPHM). CPHM conducts research and training to assist the future workforce to acquire the skills needed for the emerging digital healthcare industry. ADDFab supports the mission of CPHM with design testing and integrated precision manufacturing capabilities for the medical device community.

Alumnus Wins 2014 Young Engineer Award

October 23, 2014 in News

Paul Witherell

Dr. Paul Witherell, an alumnus of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, has received the 2014 Young Engineer Award from the Computers and Information in Engineering (CIE) Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The CIE division sponsors the Young Engineer Award to recognize a promising young investigator who is making outstanding contributions to the progress in the application of computers in engineering. Link to article:

Witherell received his Ph.D. (2009), M.S. (2006), and B.S. (2004) in Mechanical Engineering from the MIE department. As a graduate student, Witherell was a member of the NSF Center for e-Design team, developing semantic methods and ontologies to support mechanical design.

Witherell is a mechanical engineer in the Life Cycle Engineering Group of the Systems Integration Division at the Engineering Laboratory in NIST. Witherell’s primary research interests are Additive Manufacturing, Design for Sustainability, Knowledge Representation in Product Development, Design Optimization, and Ontology and Semantic Relatedness for Manufacturing.

In 2009, Witherell was awarded the prestigious National Research Council’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from NIST, where he was later hired into his present position. His work focuses on identifying integration and technology solutions to enable the smart and sustainable design and manufacture of products with a focus in additive manufacturing technologies. In this capacity, Witherell is involved with producing and promoting industry acceptance of information models, standards, and open architectures for smart product design and manufacture. He has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students who have visited NIST.

Witherell currently serves as the Associate Program Manager of a multi-million dollar NIST program on Additive Manufacturing. Within this program, Dr. Witherell manages a project on Systems Integration for Additive Manufacturing, which combines engineering and information sciences to benefit the emerging area of additive manufacturing. The project focuses on the flow of information from design through production of additive parts. Witherell also leads standards work in ASTM E60 to provide guidance to industry for improving the sustainability of manufacturing processes through better impact assessment.

Witherell has been a member of ASME since 2002 and involved with the ASME CIE conferences since 2005. He has served in roles such as reviewer, review coordinator, session chair, workshop organizer, topic organizer, and technical committee chair. Paul has served similar roles in the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Paul serves on the Programme Committee for the International Conference of Product Lifecycle Management and is a reviewer for several journals.

Witherell achieved the rank of Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, serving one-year active duty in 2003, and was Honorably Discharged in 2006.

Since graduating from the MIE department, Witherell has provided scholarship support to College of Engineering students and has also been a mentor to several undergraduate and graduate students associated with the UMass Center for e-Design, including Jeffrey McPherson, Jay Briendel, Doug Eddy, and Ed Roy. In addition, during the summer of 2014, he was the sponsor and technical supervisor to Andrew Dodd, currently a senior with the MIE department, for his summer project at NIST. (October 2014)

McCaffey Produces Brainswarming Video

June 2, 2014 in News

Credited to Harvard Business Review

Credited to

Dr. Tony McCaffrey, a former postdoctoral researcher and current collaborator in the Center for e-Design at our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, has produced a short video to explain the new “Brainswarming” tool he has created for Innovation Accelerator, Inc., the company he founded with its CEO, James O. Pearson, an alumnus of the MIE department. Brainswarming, consisting of software that provides a better, more efficient process as an alternative to brainstorming, is the latest tool to emerge from McCaffrey’s research and will soon become an online platform for remote group work. A game version of Brainswarming is also available.

Watch the video for more information on what Brainswarming is and how you can implement it:

Original Article:

Driving Innovation to Compete in the Global Economy

January 12, 2014 in News

Article written by Amanda Drane for UMass Amherst

REU Students Present Work at Campus-Wide Poster Session

August 15, 2013 in News

Edward Roy and Leo Xuzhang Lin presented their summer research at the campus-wide UMass Amherst REU Poster Session on Friday, August 2. While Roy worked with Jeffrey McPherson to look at improving the usability of current semantic information systems, Lin worked with Dr. Tony McCaffrey on a project about automatic information retrieval from patents for design innovation. Their project abstracts as well as their posters can be seen below.

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Dr. McCaffrey Featured in New Book: Red Thread Thinking

May 31, 2013 in News

Dr. Anthony McCaffrey’s work on functional fixedness has been featured in Debra Kaye’s recently published book, “Red Thread Thinking: Weaving Together Connections for Brilliant Ideas and Profitable Innovation”. The book is available for purchase on

Dr. McCaffrey’s work on Analogy Finder was also featured on Debra Kaye’s blog, Red Thread Thinking, in a post called “Someone Else Made It: You Monetize It”. Excerpts from both the book and the blog can be seen below.

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UMass Visits Iowa State: Spring 2013 IAB Meeting

April 9, 2013 in News

Iowa State University hosted the Spring 2013 Industry Advisory Board (IAB) Meeting from April 2nd-4th. Students were able to share recent research developments with industry members of the center, and were also able to view the work of their peers. The University of Massachusetts Amherst e-Design group sent 7 members (3 faculty, 3 graduate students, 1 postdoctoral scholar) to the meeting.

Dr. Tony McCaffrey presenting his project Innovation Enhancement and Semantic Network Representation in Design

Graduate student Jeffrey McPherson presenting his project Integration of e-Design Ontologies and Methods into Commercial Design Processes

Graduate student Douglas Eddy presenting his project A Semantic Knowledge Management System for Sustainable Product Design

Graduate student Vivek Premkumar presenting his project A Semantic Knowledge Management System for Laminated Composites

Go Cyclones!!

Feeling Stumped? Innovation Software Can Help

March 21, 2013 in News


Please read Dr. Anthony McCaffrey’s new blog on the Harvard Business Review. In it, he discusses the appeal of his new innovation tool called Analogy Finder.


Dr. Anthony McCaffrey Featured in The Guardian

January 18, 2013 in News

Dr. Anthony McCaffrey’s work on analogy finder has been featured in a column in The Guardian.

McCaffrey, last featured here addressing the related matter of “functional fixedness” – the mental block that stops us seeing alternative uses for everyday objects – begins with an observation: most creative breakthroughs arise through analogy. Alexander Graham Bell modelled the telephone on the human ear. A hitch with the Hubble space telescope was fixed when a Nasa engineer taking a shower in a German hotel saw how he might borrow the design of the shower head. Enter the problem you’re trying to solve, and McCaffrey’s “analogy finder” software, already released in initial form, will hunt patent databases, research libraries, et cetera, for analogous solutions. He cites the example of a ski company, beset by a major problem: at high speeds, their skis vibrated, lost contact with the snow and sent skiers out of control.
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Krishnamurty and Collaborators Get I-Corps Award

October 22, 2012 in News


Dr. Sundar Krishnamurty and Dr. Tony McCaffrey of the University of Massachusetts Center for e-Design, along with Karen Utgoff of the University of Massachusetts, have been granted a 2012 National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) award. Below is an excerpt from the article on the University of Massachusetts Mechanical and Industrial Engineering news page

Sundar Krishnamurty, the director of the Center for e-Design and a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, leads a multidisciplinary team that received a 2012 National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps, or I-Corps, award. The I-Corps program aims to prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select NSF-funded projects. It is one of 100 awards for this year and the first such grant awarded to UMass Amherst. The project funded by the NSF builds upon a fundamental new way of thinking about innovation, tentatively called an “Innovation Accelerator” (AI), and replaces the minimally successful artificial intelligence techniques from the 1980s that were unable to get machines to be innovative by themselves.
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