Convex Donates Computer to University of Minnesota for Design of Solar Vehicle

Richardson, Texas, November 10, 1992 -- Convex Computer Corporation announced today the donation of a Convex C120 to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for the development and design of Aurora, the University's solar vehicle. Aurora, powered solely by sunlight, will be raced in Sunrayce 93, a biennial intercollegiate 1,000 mile cross-country race for solar-powered cars.

Sunrayce 93 will be held June 20 - 26, 1993, and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The theme of the race is "Education, Energy, and Environment," and its purpose is to challenge science, mathematics, and engineering students throughout North America, and to foster scientific innovation and creativity.

Thirty-six colleges and universities will participate in the seven-day race that will cut through America's heartland, starting at the Arlington Convention Center in the Dallas area and finish at the Minnesota Zoo in the Twin Cities area. Each day, the cars will travel an average of 143 miles, with a scheduled media stop at the halfway point of each day's race. The solar car with the lowest cumulative elapsed time in completing the official course will be declared the winner.

The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project emerged in 1990 from interest surrounding the previously held GM Sunrayce USA in July, 1990. Out of 64 applications, the university was selected as one of 36 colleges and universities to have its project compete in Sunrayce 93.

According to the faculty advisors, Virgil Marple, mechanical engineering professor, and Patrick Starr, associate professor, the founding student members of the project saw the race as an opportunity to go beyond the classroom and gain practical experience. "This exciting project involved more than 89 students and encompasses a wide range of disciplines," said Starr. "Four groups were formed to manage the project: mechanical systems, aerospace testing and shell development, electrical engineering, and publicity and fund raising. The members believe that this race presents a tangible goal -- to build the best solar vehicle possible and win the race!" The Convex C120 computer will be used to enhance Aurora's basic design concepts. The system will verify the complex design with finite element analysis (FEA) for structural members and thermal problems encountered by solar vehicles. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis will be used to improve the shape of the vehicle, which has already been wind tunnel tested.

"As a leading supplier of supercomputers in more than 100 prestigious universities around the world, Convex has played an important role in advancing major research," said Terrence L. Rock, chief operating officer for Convex. "We are eager to continue this tradition by playing a part in the university's project of building a race car fueled by the sun -- a vital and renewable energy source. As a race car enthusiast, I am especially excited about Convex's contribution to Sunrayce 93 and the exploration of solar power for automobile transportation." Set in a major metropolitan area, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus serves more than 40,000 students. The Institute of Technology has several degree programs ranked in the top 10 in the nation. The mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering and materials science departments in particular are known for their excellent educational and research programs and facilities.

Convex Computer Corporation, a leading supplier of air-cooled supercomputers worldwide, markets its products primarily to scientific, engineering, and technical users for a wide variety of applications in areas such as seismic processing, reservoir simulation, computational chemistry, computer-aided engineering, image processing, aerospace simulations, and molecular biology. Convex is a member of the Precision Risc Organization (PRO), an association of industry-leading companies that promote the use of HP's PA-RISC technology. Convex, which is listed on the NYSE with the symbol CNX, has sold more than 1,100 systems to nearly 600 customers in 44 countries. The systems are sold and serviced through direct sales and an extensive distribution network.