Computer science driving innovation across industry lines
The Paper Discovery Center is a microcosm of what made Appleton a commercial and innovation hub a century ago — and it offers a glimpse of what Wisconsin cities like it can become.

Overlooking the rapids on the Fox River, the Paper Discovery Center is a museum and learning center within Appleton’s first paper mill, the 1878 Atlas Mill, a precursor to today’s Kimberly-Clark Corp. The mill has been dormant for years, but the history of Wisconsin’s “paper valley” lives on through exhibits, classes and field trips that engage visitors of all ages in science, technology, engineering, art and math.

On a recent fall day, the Paper Discovery Center was also host to a discussion about how computing is changing the face of virtually every state industry — including those nearly as old as Wisconsin itself.

Tom Erickson, the director of the new UW-Madison School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences, brought a message of statewide engagement with industry to a meeting of the Wisconsin Technology Council board of directors. From tourism to agriculture, and from manufacturing to transportation, computing and data is changing how those sectors perform while inventing new industries along the way...

...In 1878, the Atlas Paper Mill was an example of Wisconsin innovation. In 1882, Appleton became home to the world’s first commercial hydroelectric plant. In 1886, it spawned the world’s first successful commercial electric street railway. Perhaps the next wave of innovation in cities such as Appleton will be led by tomorrow’s computer and data scientists.


- - Volume: 9 - WEEK: 42 Date: 10/13/2021 8:02:47 AM -