On October 13, 1981, the Engineering Computing Committee unanimously endorsed a proposal recommending the formation of a new organization and management structure for computing in the college, called the Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) Center. In order to create a facility such as CAE, John G. Bollinger (Dean of the College of Engineering from 1981-1999), brought together the resources from other instructional labs in the College. The labs that were merged include the Engineering Computing Laboratory (ECL), the Data Acquisition and Simulation Laboratory (DASL), and the Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing Center (CAD/CAM Center).
The effective starting date of the CAE was January 1, 1982. Professor John J. Uicker, Jr. was the first Director. In 1981, two new computers, a Harris 800 and a DEC VAC 11/780, were purchased and installed on the tenth floor of the Engineering Research Building (ERB). While the tenth floor of ERB also housed the administrative offices of CAE and was sufficient for the needs of researchers, it did not accommodate large numbers of undergraduate students.
To serve the student needs, other access sites were added. One of the two terminal access sites was located in the basement of what was then called the General Engineering Building, now Engineering Hall. This facility, called CAE East, included a card punch/card reader compatible with the remote Harris 800 computer which allowed batch computing. It also included several alphanumeric terminals and a few graphics terminals connected to the CAE services. The other terminal site available to students was called CAE West, and was located on the third floor of the Mechanical Engineering Building where the Industrial Engineering Department
is currently located.
The administrative offices and computers from ERB, and the offices and computers from CAE West, were moved to the CAE Center at 1410 Engineering Drive upon its completion in 1988.