A.A. Potter Engineering Center

Potter Center

Potter Engineering Center, 500 Central Dr., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2022


The A.A. Potter Engineering Center is a multipurpose teaching and research facility administered by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies. Its mission is to develop and promote innovative technologies in response to society's needs. Its goal is to enhance our quality of life.

The Center is named for a very special former dean of engineering at Purdue. Andrey Abraham Potter was born in Vilna, Russia, on August 5, 1882. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his early career was devoted to the development of steam turbines for the General Electric Company in New York from 1903-05. He then joined the engineering faculty at Kansas State University as professor of mechanical engineering; he served as dean of mechanical arts for seven years beginning in 1913. In 1920 he came to Purdue University and served as dean of engineering until his retirement in 1953; during his tenure, Dean Potter built Purdue into the largest and one of the most respected engineering colleges in the country. In 1945-46 he served as acting president of Purdue; he was offered the presidency but declined.

Dean Potter was often referred to as "The Dean of Deans" because of his large role in the direction of engineering education in this country during the twentieth century. He was dedicated to students and to engineering, even after his retirement; he always put people first. Dean Potter was widely known as a consultant to schools of engineering, to industry, and to government. He wrote several books on engineering and more than 300 scientific papers and articles. During his career, Dean Potter received honorary doctorates from 10 universities. He died in Lafayette in 1979 at the age of 97.

See the following for more info on Dean Potter:


First Floor

Siegesmund Engineering Library – Room 160

The Siegesmund Engineering Library, located in Room 160 of the A.A. Potter Engineering Center, was furnished by a donation from John C. Siegesmund, retired Vice-President of Engineering with Eli Lilly and Company, and his wife, Lillian. Mr. Siegesmund received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1919 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in engineering from Purdue University in 1959. The library opened in 1978, and was a consolidation of the individual Schools of Engineering libraries. Its collections occupy three floors of the Potter Engineering Center and include books, journals, conference proceedings, standards, patents, product literature and technical reports.

The William Freeman Myrick Goss History of Engineering Collection, which was formerly housed within the engineering library, has recently been relocated to the Libraries Archives and Special Collections Research Center on the 4th floor of the HSSE Library (entrance on the first floor of Stewart Center). Dr. Goss, who came to Purdue as an instructor of shop training, later became the University's first Dean of Engineering. The collection includes one of the more extensive libraries of rail and early transportation literature in the country. The Special Collections are also known for their aerospace and astronautics collections, including the papers of Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan.

Office of Professional Practice - Room 114

The Office of Professional Practice is a formal plan of education in which students alternate sessions of full-time work with sessions of full-time study. Purdue’s Professional Practice Programs are designed to combine practical on-the-job experiences with the classroom training of a four-year college curriculum. It helps students integrate theory and practice, confirm career choices, investigate potential job opportunities, and become better graduates. At the same time, it allows students to earn money and help finance their education.  Also, the semester (work-session) that the student is not on campus, they do NOT pay tuition, but only a Co-OP administration fee.

The Professional Practice Programs is a voluntary plan for students who finish their first or second year at Purdue in the upper half of their class. The program is available to the students in the Schools of Agriculture, Consumer and Family Sciences, Engineering, School of Liberal Arts, Management, Science, and Technology. Admission requirements vary from school to school and not all students who apply to the Professional Practice Program find Co-Op jobs. Once a Co-Op job is accepted, students alternate sessions of academic study with sessions of work with a qualified employer. Faculty Coordinators screen potential employers to assure quality job assignments and refer interested students for job interviews - typically in the spring of the year.

Purdue University Rendering and Perceptualization Lab (PURPL) – Room 127

The Purdue University Rendering and Perceptualization Lab (PURPL) is directed by David S. Ebert.  PURPL research focuses on the effective communication of information through graphics rendering, modeling, abstraction, animation, and perceptualization.  Perceptualization is an extension of visualization to include other perceptual senses, such as proprioception and haptics (touch). Perceptualization is also a refocusing of visualization efforts to create images, animations, and other sensory input that is perceptually significant and efficient for communicating information to the user. The goal is not the photo realistic representation of information, but the efficacy of communicating the important information from a dataset, simulation, or special effect to the user.

Purdue University Regional Visualization and Analytics Center (PURVAC) – Room 127

The Purdue University Regional Visualization and Analytics Center is directed by David S. Ebert. PURVAC performs research that allows personnel at all levels of homeland security to quickly and effectively extract, visually analyze and synthesize information for timely and accurate decision-making. The interdisciplinary team from Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Statistics, Management, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine is focusing on three homeland security challenges: emergency planning and response; healthcare monitoring and management; and mobile analytics.

Visual Analytics for Command, Control, and Interoperability Environments (VACCINE) – Rooms 127, 136, 224, 226, 228

VACCINE is dedicated to creating methods and tools to manage, analyze, and share vast amounts of information for all mission areas of homeland security. VACCINE will focus on the research, development, and deployment of interactive, visual analytic software environments for communicating and deriving insight from the massive amounts of distributed, diffuse, and occasionally conflicting data that exists in the diverse homeland security community. We will work to ensure that homeland security personnel have the necessary tools to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from all manner of threats and hazards, including terrorist attacks, natural and man-made disasters, as well as pandemics, potential resource conflicts, and other threats to our infrastructures and populace. VACCINE’s goal is to help this nation’s public safety, law enforcement, emergency response, and public health professionals perform their jobs more effectively by using the best ideas from the world’s top scientists and researchers to turn massive amounts of data into manageable information. We work closely with local, state, tribal, as well as Federal first responders to determine their needs and team with corporate partners and national labs to transfer our technology from research demonstrations on real-world problems to hardened, commercially deployable and viable applications. VACCINE will also educate the next generation of homeland security professionals with initiatives that span the entire career development pipeline, ranging from K-12 programs through undergraduate and graduate level work, to professional education and training.

Building Deputy – Room 146

The office of the Potter Center Building Deputy provides mail services for the building, keys, and information about building maintenance.

Second Floor

K.S. Fu Room for Cross-Disciplinary Research – Room 234

The K.S. Fu Room for Cross-Disciplinary Research is a meeting room that comfortably seats up to 50 people and has been equipped for cross-disciplinary work, special research forums, site visits, cross-disciplinary seminars, presentations, workshops, roundtables, and the display of publications, posters, and audio/visual materials. This conference room was named in recognition of the late Professor King-Sun Fu because of his many accomplishments as Goss Distinguished Professor of Engineering. Professor Fu was a member of the faculty of the Purdue School of Electrical Engineering from 1960 to 1985.

To schedule the Fu Room, please use the online reservation system (preferred method) or call 494-7022.

Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering (LORRE) – Room 216

The Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering (LORRE), located in Room 216, was established in 1978 to carry out research on transforming renewable resources to liquid fuels. The role of the Laboratory in multidisciplinary research evolved over its 25-year history from biofuels research to its current function as an Integrative Center for Biotechnology and Engineering which carries out multi-disciplinary research in bioenergy, bioprocessing, bioproducts , bionanotechnology, and biorecovery. LORRE has capabilities ranging from fundamental studies on the molecular genetics of yeast and bacteria to bioreaction and bioprocess engineering, and biotechnology that uses organisms, tissues, cells, or their molecular components to: (1) act on living things, (2) intervene in the workings of cells, including their genetic material, and (3) provide templates for advanced non-living systems that emulate specific biological functions, and manufacture bioproducts.

Third Floor

Engineering Professional Education (ProEd) – Room 364

Engineering Professional Education (ProEd) offers master’s degrees at a distance for practicing engineers with careers in progress. The degrees are flexible and customized. In addition to the MS and MSE offered through ProEd, the division also facilitates the distance delivery of several of the traditional engineering master’s degree programs such as Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Astronautics and Aeronautics Engineering. A dual-degree program is available for those also interested in earning an MBA.

In addition, there are short courses and seminars, offered through the Partnership for Competitive Advantage. Learners can earn continuing education units (CEUs) for their participation in the non-credit courses. The courses are offered in a variety of instructional delivery formats from completely online to customized, onsite courses to blended courses that incorporate both online and traditional classroom components. The online Lean Six Sigma program – including the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Black Belt and Advanced Lean Principles and Tools courses – is an example of one of the popular programs accessible through the Partnership for Competitive Advantage.

VLSI Design and Test Laboratory – Room 360

The VLSI Design and Test Laboratory  consists of a suite of high-performance workstations, integrated circuit testers, and commercial computer-aided design software. The laboratory is used for designing low-power and highly testable integrated circuits and for developing design automation software for fault diagnosis, testing, simulation, power estimation, and synthesis. This lab is affiliated with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Center for Materials Under eXtreme Environment - Room 374

Center for Materials Under eXtreme Environments (CMUXE) is a research unit at Purdue University aimed at promoting nuclear, material science, plasma research and education. Members of CMUXE perform basic and applied research in wide variety of interdisciplinary fields. The major thrust area is the interactions of high-intensity, modulated energy beams: electromagnetic radiation, plasma, electrons, ions and other particle sources (i.e. clusters, molecules) with matter. The CMUXE combines both advanced integrated computational tools, i.e., HEIGHTS simulation package and state-of-the art experimental devices.