Joseph Boston received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in 1959, and began his career with Union Carbide Corporation at a time when computers were just beginning to be used for technical applications in the chemical process industries. His industrial experience spans a total of 10 years, including subsequent positions at Monsanto and Bechtel. From the outset his industrial experience focused on mathematical modeling, applied thermodynamics, process simulation and a wide variety of other applications of computers to chemical engineering.
After receiving his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University in 1970, Boston served as Assistant Prof. of Chemical Engineering at the University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and as Associate Prof. of Chemical Engineering at the University of Toledo. In 1977 he joined the ASPEN Project at MIT as Associate Project Manager. Funded jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy and 65 companies in the process industries, the Project's charter was to develop the "next generation" software system for computer-aided process engineering.
When the Project was completed in 1981, Boston joined other key members of the project team in founding Aspen Technology, Inc. (AspenTech) to commercialize the ASPEN software, serving as President of the company from 1984 to 2001. The company grew from an eight-person start-up to a successful public company with over 2000 employees at its peak.
Today AspenTech's software is used every day to simulate process plants. It is a corporate engineering standard at most chemical companies worldwide, and is used by many thousands of engineers in over 1200 companies distributed among 45 countries, representing virtually every sector of the process industries. Chemical engineering and other engineering departments at over 300 universities in North and Latin America and over 400 in other parts of the world also use AspenTech's software for teaching and research.
During the 1990s the company dramatically expanded its technology portfolio to become the leading supplier of integrated systems for design, automation and management of process manufacturing plants. The technologies include advanced process control, on-line optimization, plant information systems, planning, scheduling and supply chain optimization, along with the more traditional simulation technologies for process design.
Boston's technical accomplishments encompass a wide range of topics in the field of computer-aided chemical engineering. He is author or co-author of over 60 technical articles and conference presentations, as well as two patents. He received the 1994 Computing Practice Award from the Computing and Systems Technology Division of AIChE, and was the 2004 recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award from the Washington University School of Engineering. He is a member and former chair of the Tulane Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Advisory Board, and a former member of the School of Engineering Advisory Board.
School of Science and Engineering Outstanding Alumnus
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