ABB conference: Inspiration from space mission

Discussions of computer failures in space were part of the ABB Automation World 2006 Users' Conference & Exhibition here, May 8-11. Attendance exceeded prior event numbers by more than 45%, totaling more than 2,500. Customers attended workshops, training sessions, and exhibits, and talked with technical experts to get individual questions answered.

06/01/2006


Discussions of computer failures in space were part of the ABB Automation World 2006 Users' Conference & Exhibition here, May 8-11. Attendance exceeded prior event numbers by more than 45%, totaling more than 2,500. Customers attended workshops, training sessions, and exhibits, and talked with technical experts to get individual questions answered. The inspirational guest speaker was Captain Jerry Linenger, a retired U.S. Navy flight surgeon and NASA astronaut.

During what has been reported to be one of the most dangerous and dramatic missions in space history, Lineger spent nearly five months aboard the Russian space station Mir . In an animated and inspirational talk, he described numerous life-threatening events, including repeated failure of critical life-support systems, a near-collision between the space station and a massive re-supply spacecraft, and multiple computer failures that sent Mir tumbling uncontrollably through space.

Dinesh Paliwal, chairman and CEO, ABB North America, and president of global markets and technology for ABB Group, remarked, "Although ABB is proud of its leadership in automation products, services and solutions, our finest achievements come when we collaborate with stakeholders to transform these into measurable results." He said the choice of Captain Lineger corresponded with the conference theme, "Countdown to Results."

Numerous attendees commented on the high energy and level of attendance at the show. Some attributed it to budgets loosening after a long period of inactivity. An ABB spokesman was more enthusiastic: "Sales partners, customers, distributors, and prospects left no doubt about the current state of a vibrant automation industry. Their genuine enthusiasm, eagerness to learn about new equipment and technology, and [interest in] networking with industry peers was palpable at this event."

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