UA students and Diebold engineers team up to explore uncharted virtual world


Cloud computing, a nebulous term that refers to using the Internet to store data, run programs and more, has yet to significantly enter the college classroom, until now. Students from The University of Akron and software engineers from Canton-based Diebold, Incorporated (NYSE:DBD), makers of automated teller machines and security systems, will take a series of three courses in cloud computing at UA to learn how industry can maximize cyberspace resources. Simultaneously, a group of budding computer scientists will receive specialized training to help industry — right out of college.

In all, 12 UA students and six Diebold engineers will participate in the classes, which take place during the fall 2012 and spring and summer 2013 semesters. Topics cover cloud computing fundamentals, tools and platforms; cloud "mashups," or website pages or applications that use or combine data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services; best practices in cloud applications; and cloud security.

Industry helps shape curriculum

Leading engineers from Diebold were directly involved in shaping the cloud computing class curriculum with UA professors, transpiring as a result of Diebold's role on the UA Computer Science Advisory Board. Also, Diebold engineers attending the course have been working with cloud-oriented technologies and mashups since early 2011 through research and various active projects.

Several students selected for the course series also will serve internships at Diebold, where they will work alongside skilled professionals who develop and deploy cloud technology for the company. In addition, pairs of UA students will team up with Diebold software engineers to work on non-Diebold projects.

Provost Mike Sherman speaks during the kickoff event at Diebold.

"This partnership will help fill identified workforce needs and contribute to innovative technological advances.  The interactions our students will have with Diebold engineers, both in the classroom and through co-ops and dedicated projects, will help create for them an outstanding academic experience — a true Akron Experience," said William M. “Mike” Sherman, UA senior vice president, provost and chief operating officer.

"Experiences like these will make our graduates distinctive and benefit our industry partners with UA graduates ready to contribute from the first day on the job," adds Sherman. "We are thrilled to partner with Diebold in this exciting opportunity and look forward to furthering the use of cloud computing to create innovative solutions."

Frank Natoli, executive vice president and chief innovation officer, Diebold, added that the program is one of only a limited number in the United States. He said the collaboration will help Diebold attract and retain top-tier talent, and give the company’s associates an opportunity for personal growth while they provide guidance to students and help them hone the skills software engineers need.

Mutually beneficial investment

Frank Alexander, director of executive briefing programs at Diebold, and UA student Janelle Archer introduce the joint program.

"This is an investment that will help us to measurably grow our capability in a technology that will shape our future, as we leverage cloud computing to grow our services business in the retail financial space," Natoli said. "We are sending engineers to the course as one of several ways we are continuing to transform and grow our own strong software skills, and apply those skills for student education as well as professional development. Just as importantly, it is an investment in the educational system and students of Ohio."

Curriculum co-developer and instructor Kathy Liszka, UA professor of computer science, said the program's shared resources and common goals are expected to produce positive outcomes for students, industry and the university. She's joined by UA's Chien-Chung Chan, professor of computer science, and Michael Collard, assistant professor of computer science.

"Only a few cloud computing courses have been taught in universities to date. We're starting from scratch, looking at it and teaching it from our industrial partner's point of view," Liszka said. "In the process of taking the classes and being mentored by Diebold software engineers, our students will receive the training and job-readiness necessary for them to meet industry needs."

About The University of Akron

The University of Akron offers more than 300 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate and law degree programs – with accreditations by 35 professional agencies. With nearly 30,000 students and $46.7 million in sponsored research awards, UA is among the nation's strongest public universities focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment in community and economic growth. Programs are targeted to diverse groups of learners, including full-time, part-time and online students, veterans and adults returning to the classroom. The distinctive Akron Experience enhances postgraduate success through internships and co-ops, academic research (both undergraduate and graduate), study abroad, on-campus student employment and service projects.

About Diebold, Incorporated

Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated self-service delivery and security systems and services. Diebold employs more than 16,000 associates with representation in nearly 90 countries worldwide and is headquartered in the Canton, Ohio, region, USA. Diebold is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol 'DBD.' For more information, visit the company’s website at or follow the company on Twitter:

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or