Peter Raad receives ASME medal for outstanding achievement

Peter Raad, professor of mechanical engineering in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, received the Allan Kraus Thermal Management Medal on Nov. 18, 2014, at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition in Montreal.

Raad was honored for outstanding achievements in thermal management of electronic systems and for his commitment to the field of thermal science and engineering. He was selected for innovative research in deep-submicron metrology (the science of measurement); for determining 3-D temperature fields in electronic devices using 2-D thermal measurements; for exemplary teaching and mentoring; and for leadership in cross-disciplinary research as well as educational initiatives at the intersection of industry and academia.

“Professor Peter Raad is an internationally known expert in thermal management of electronic systems,” said Ali Beskok, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Lyle School. “His selection by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to receive the 2014 Allan Kraus Thermal Management Medal is indeed a well-deserved distinction. Professor Raad is an excellent teacher as well as an outstanding researcher, and I am honored to have such topnotch faculty members in our department.”

“Professor Raad is well deserving of this prestigious award,” said Volkan Otugen, senior associate dean of the Lyle School. “He exemplifies all facets of a great academician: In addition to his ground-breaking research in thermal management of electronics, he is an inspired teacher and advisor, as well as a pioneer in engineering education.”

Raad has received more than $2.5 million in support for his research in tsunami mitigation and in metrology of submicron electronics. He has published more than 50 journal articles and holds U.S. and international patents in thermal metrology and computational characterization of multiscale integrated circuits. He is an ASME fellow and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Raad also is a member of the American Physical Society; Sigma XI, the Scientific Research Society; and Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society.

Born in Lebanon, Raad studied at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, earning a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in1981, a master of science in 1982 and his Ph.D. in 1986.

SMU announces new Guildhall leadership

SMU announced today that Gary Brubaker has been named the new director of The Guildhall, the University’s renowned digital game program. Brubaker replaces Peter Raad, who will return to his position as a professor at SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering.

Brubaker, who served previously as deputy director for academic relations at The Guildhall, begins his new position immediately.

SMU issued this announcement today: “Dr. Raad has done a marvelous job in founding the Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter and then The Guildhall at SMU. He has put The Guildhall on a solid foundation for the future and prepared it for continued excellence. The University and Dr. Raad have therefore decided that it is time to turn it over to a new leadership to further its great promise and to allow Dr. Raad to pursue his professional interests with a well-deserved sabbatical. As a result, he will be returning to his position as a professor at the Lyle School of Engineering as of this fall semester.”

During Raad’s tenure, The Guildhall garnered international acclaim for its programs and for the success of its highly sought-after graduates. Brubaker said he hopes to build upon those achievements.

“I want to thank Dr. Raad for the foundation he established here,” Brubaker said. “This is an amazing opportunity to work with leading faculty, staff and students. I look forward to helping lead The Guildhall in this next phase of its growth and achievement as one of the premier digital game programs in the world.”

Since joining The Guildhall in 2004, Brubaker has been deeply involved with designing curricula and lecturing. As deputy director for academic relations, he was responsible for recruiting and collaborating with The Guildhall faculty to provide students with a premier game development education through a multidisciplinary approach.

Brubaker previously served as a development director, a manager of core technology and a lead programmer in the digital game industry.

He began his programming career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories working on the Voyager and Galileo projects. He turned his passion for games into a career in 1992 when he joined LucasArts Entertainment. While there he worked on Rebel Assault, Shadows of the Empire, The Curse of Monkey Island, The Dig and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine.

He later joined Stormfront Studios, where he worked on the EA title Lord of the Rings: Two Towers. He also contributed to other titles, including Lego MyStyle. He then moved to Dallas to join Atari/Paradigm to become Manager of Core Technology. He led a group that created the engine for a number of Atari games, including Terminator 3: The Redemption, Mission Impossible: Operation Surma, Dungeon & Dragons: Heroes, and Backyard Baseball.

Brubaker received a B.A. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989 and an M.B.A from SMU in 2008.

The Guildhall at SMU is the premier graduate video game education program in the United States. The program crosses traditional disciplinary lines to combine art, design, software development, business, physical sciences and humanities to create the 21st century’s first new academic discipline.

The Guildhall at SMU joins elite Intel university research group

The Guildhall at SMU has received a $50,000 grant from Intel Corporation’s Visual Computing Academic Program for research scholarship funding. SMU students will conduct studies to expand upon applied research pursued within the Intel Science and Technology Centers for Visual Computing (ISTC-VC) and other Intel-supported visual computing academic research.

“We are thrilled to be a part of Intel’s Visual Computing Academic Program and working with the ISTC-VC,” says Peter Raad, founder and executive director of The Guildhall at SMU. “Our Master’s students are creating new worlds through interactive video game development here at SMU. This funding will help us collaborate with Intel and other universities to reach new levels of realism and expand the practical uses for visual computing.”

Intel’s Visual Computing Academic Program was established to accelerate the development of tools and techniques for interactive rendering on highly parallel architectures. The program encourages collaboration between Intel product development teams and elite academic research programs.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work more closely with The Guildhall going forward,” said Intel’s Randi Rost, manager of the Visual Computing Academic Program. “Through this relationship, we will be able to harden, optimize, and polish visual computing research results and incorporate them in game environments. This will provide value to students at the Guildhall, to our visual computing research collaborators, to Intel product development and enabling teams, and ultimately to consumers who use Intel platforms.”

“Having our faculty and students recognized by Intel as key contributors to the future of visual computing is very gratifying.  It will also allow us to collaborate with other great minds at Intel and other universities,” Raad adds.  “We hope to be announcing winners of this year’s research scholarships and their projects soon.”

In this video, James Ohlen, creative director of BioWare Austin, takes a moment at Comic Con 2011 to praise Guildhall alumni involved in the making of the smash hit online game Star Wars: The Old Republic. Click the YouTube screen to view, or click this link to open the James Ohlen video in a new windowvideo

> Visit The Guildhall at SMU online

SMU spring ceremonies honor outstanding achievement

Honors Day Convocation 2010SMU celebrates the approaching end of the 2010-11 academic year with two traditional ceremonies honoring some of its most distinguished faculty, staff and students. The 2011 Honors Day Convocation and Awards Extravaganza take place on the afternoon and evening of April 11.

Peter Raad, founding director of the Linda and Mitch Hart eCenter at SMU and executive director of The Guildhall at SMU, will deliver the address at the 14th annual Honors Day Convocation at 5:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. The ceremony celebrates academic achievement at the University and department levels. Retired and current faculty will assemble in academic dress no later than 5:10 p.m. in the Perkins Administration Building lobby and will process together to McFarlin Auditorium. A reception follows the Convocation in the Dallas Hall Quadrangle.

> Read the list of 2011 Honors Convocation award recipients

Participating faculty members may RSVP online. Faculty members with questions regarding the faculty procession can send an e-mail to or call 214-768-3417.

Later, the University presents several awards for excellence – including its highest honor, the “M” Award – during the 2011 Awards Extravaganza at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms. Awards Extravaganza honorees will be listed in SMU Forum the day after the ceremony.

Photo from Honors Day Convocation 2010 by Hillsman S. Jackson

> Find more information on Honors Day Convocation at the Registrar’s website
> Learn more about the Awards Extravaganza from SMU Student Life

Faculty in the News: Feb. 15, 2011

Peter Raad, founder and executive director, The Guildhall at SMU, talked with Krys Boyd of KERA Public Radio’s “Think” about whether video games have the potential to teach students social skills and the ability to cope with real-life challenges. The program was broadcast Jan. 31, 2011. Read more or listen to the Peter Raad interview. audio

Michael Lysko, Sports Management, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, talked about Dallas’ chances of hosting another Super Bowl with The Wall Street Journal Feb. 8, 2011.

Seyom Brown, Tower Center for Political Studies, Dedman College, talked about the politics of the evolving situation in Egypt with USA Today Feb. 2, 2011.

Faculty in the News: Nov. 16, 2010

Henry Arthur McArdle, 'The Battle of San JacintoEric White, curator at SMU’s Bridwell Library, discussed James G. Pepper’s work creating a hand-lettered, hand-illustrated Bible with The United Methodist Church’s Interpreter Magazine. The article appeared in the November-December 2010 edition.

Sam Ratcliffe, head of special collections in SMU’s Hamon Arts Library, talked with The Houston Chronicle about the recent discovery of a smaller version of Texas artist Henry Arthur McArdle’s famed painting The Battle of San Jacinto (right) – a canvas previously thought to have been destroyed in a 1918 house fire. The article appeared in the paper’s Nov. 8, 2010 edition.

Matt Wilson, Political Science, Dedman College, talked about Sarah Palin’s visit to Dallas and its potential impact on other politicians’ aspirations with The Dallas Morning News Nov. 10, 2010.

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Dedman College, talked about how – and whether – President Obama can adapt to the new political realities of Washington with The Christian Science Monitor Nov. 6, 2010. In addition, he discussed the 2010 midterm elections with The Houston Chronicle and USA Today in articles that appeared Nov. 3, 2010.

Peter Raad on 'Ideas in Action with Jim Glassman'Peter Raad (right), Executive Director, The Guildhall at SMU, discussed the future landscape of video games on the nationally syndicated PBS series “Ideas in Action with Jim Glassman.” The show aired Nov. 4, 2010. Watch it online. video

Dennis Simon, Political Science, Dedman College, talked about Democratic successes in Dallas County elections despite Republican dominance of national races with The Dallas Morning News Nov. 3, 2010.

Anastasia Suen, Creative Writing, Continuing and Professional Studies, was featured in an article on the “Frisco Reads” program that appeared in The South Lake Times Oct. 27, 2010.

Bruce Bullock, Maguire Energy Institute, Cox School of Business, talked with The Wall Street Journal about how cement used in oil drilling is prone to failure. The article appeared in the Oct. 30, 2010 edition.

Dan Howard, Marketing, Cox School of Business, discussed Halloween sales of candy, costumes and decorations as a barometer for general economic recovery with The Dallas Business Journal Oct. 29, 2010.

Mark Chancey, Religious Studies, Dedman College, talked about a Bible-based history curriculum being sought by a member of Louisiana’s Caddo Parish School Board with The Shreveport Times Nov. 2, 2010.

Research Spotlight: Scores matter to video gamers

'Plants vs. Zombies' trailer screenbgrabVideo game review scores influence consumers, at least to an extent – according to a new study by EEDAR (Electronic Entertainment Design and Research) and The Guildhall at SMU.

Study participants were shown the game Plants vs. Zombies. The researchers found that those gamers who were shown high review scores (of about 90) gave higher scores of their own (about 85) when asked to give their own review score after playing the game.

Their scores were 20 percent higher than those of participants who were given low review scores (61) prior to playing the game; those respondents gave review scores averaging 71.

(Note: the Metacritic score for Plants vs. Zombies is 88 – not far off the 85 score given by the higher score group and the 79 given by the control group, which saw no reviews prior to playing the game.)

After they played the game, participants were offered $10 or a copy of the game. Participants exposed to the higher reviews were more than twice as likely to take the game than the cash.

In addition, those in the high review score group were 40 percent more likely to recommend Plants vs. Zombies to friends than the low review score group.

The results suggest that professional video game review scores can influence the marketplace, the researchers say. “We knew that review scores influenced consumers, but to what degree we couldn’t measure,” says EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich. “Still, as people, if you ask yourself individually we say, ‘No, we are not persuaded by outside sources. We make our own opinions.’ But obviously, the review scores influenced them.”

“This research, which has identified key behavioral aspects, is part of an overall objective of ours to ensure that we are always on the cusp of what is next in an ever-changing environment of the video game industry,” says Peter Raad, Guildhall executive director. “The driving force behind what we do is based on what is happening beyond our campus – in both distance and time. Preparing students to become industry leaders requires a commitment to ongoing research.”

> Read the full story from USA Today
> Learn more at The Guildhall at SMU website

Tune In: Girl gamers on the rise

The traditionally all-male world of video game creation has experienced an influx of female talent over the past decade.

The Guildhall at SMU sees this trend up close: The January 2010 entering class for its video game development programs is nearly 20 percent female, as compared to the industry’s current employment pool of 4 to 6 percent women.

“It’s very exciting to see more women in gaming,” says Peter Raad, The Guildhall’s founder and executive director, who was interviewed for a segment broadcast on Dallas’ CW33 News April 29, 2010. Click the video screen to watch the entire piece. video

Faculty in the News: May 4, 2010

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Dedman College, talked about the potential impact of the immigration debate on the 2010 elections with USA Today May 3, 2010. He also discussed U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s efforts on behalf of Houston’s Johnson Space Center to win a two-year extension of space shuttle flights for an article that appeared in The Houston Chronicle May 1, 2010.

Bruce Bullock, Maguire Energy Institute, Cox School of Business, discussed the economic outlook for energy and gas exploration in Pennsylvania with The Dallas Business Journal April 30, 2010.

Peter Raad, The Guildhall at SMU, discussed current job and salary prospects in the video game industry with Reuters April 29, 2010.

Alan Bromberg, Dedman School of Law, talked about the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s newly aggressive posture in its fraud litigation against Goldman Sachs with The Los Angeles Times April 22, 2010.

Dan Howard, Marketing, discussed how companies use Earth Day to promote their brands with giveaway items for an article that appeared in USA Today April 22, 2010.

Tune In: Training tomorrow’s game designers

What does SMU’s master’s-level program in game design have in common with medical school? Peter Raad, founder and executive director of The Guildhall at SMU, talked about The Guildhall’s blend of theoretical and hands-on training – and its involvement in the inaugural Indie Game Challenge – with GamerLive.TV during the 2010 D.I.C.E.™ (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit in Las Vegas in February. Click the screen to watch the interview: