Employee Experience

4 Leading Colleges & Universities Transform Engineering Programs with VMware Horizon & NVIDIA GRID

Mobile, Immersive & Flexible 3D Graphics Applications on Any Device, Anywhere

by Claude Robinson, director of enterprise software application and healthcare technology partners, End-User Computing, VMware

Gone are the days where college students lugged around heavy backpacks full of books. Now, books and notes fit into small, lightweight mobile devices. In this newly digital world of academia, how does the bring-our-own-device (BYOD) generation untether from college labs to run the engineering industry’s leading 3D software applications from anywhere—on any device?

The world’s leading colleges and universities answer this question by deploying VMware Horizon and NVIDIA GRID, which combine to deliver hardware GPU-based acceleration for 3D applications on virtual workspaces accessible on any device.

Utilizing the solution from VMware and NVIDIA, universities and colleges can now offer students access to the latest and greatest software on any device from anywhere, freeing leading-edge 3D graphics applications from the confines of a stationary workstation. Now, engineering programs can offer more classes without being tied to physical lab resources or building space. Faculty is freed from troubleshooting technology issues, can teach larger classes and access labs with students from anywhere. Students are now mobile and can collaborate without reserving dedicated lab equipment. IT is freed from managing hardware, operating systems (OS), software upgrades and licensing limitations on lab and student devices. And lastly, colleges are now more competitive by offering a larger set of leading curriculum with the latest enterprise technology.

Over the last few months many of our higher education customers have shared their stories of successfully moving from the traditional, physical lab world to this new mobile model. USC will share their unique story at NVIDIA GTC on April 4-7. Click here to learn more.

Innovation in Engineering Education: Success Stories

Watch these videos to learn how four leading engineering programs—USC, Iowa State, Florida Atlantic and Old Dominion—leveraged Horizon and NVIDIA GRID to streamline license management, improve educational outcomes and empower better experiences for students.

USC Viterbi School of Engineering

8,000 students


  • Maintaining application updates and installation on school labs and student devices
  • Managing limited floating licenses
  • OS requirements across all devices
  • Remote learners not on campus or near engineering labs
  • Hard drive space for numerous apps on physical lab systems.


  • Students can use specialized 3D software applications on any device from anywhere
  • New leading edge classes can be offered without new labs or hardware
  • Students can collaborate in groups anywhere without the need for lab time or resources
  • Student data and files are now secure and centralized
  • Faculty no longer responsible for hardware and software troubleshooting
  • More classes can be available as lab resources are less constrained

Learn more about how USC Viterbi addressed growing resource planning and course delivery needs here.

Iowa State University Department of Agronomy

320 undergraduate, 130 graduate and 24 post doctorate students


  • Need to reduce cost of computing and lab resources
  • Numerous hardware types, OS, and applications
  • Updates and licensing difficult
  • Application licensing


  • Easier to manage
  • BYOD-enabled
  • One login for all users
  • Improved security
  • Classroom instruction now more effective

Florida Atlantic University College of Engineering

2,500 students


  • Current VMware Horizon virtual desktop deployment did not support 3D applications (as no NVIDIA GRID product in deployment)
  • Horizon used both on and off campus.
  • 3D apps did not match performance of physical computer with vSGA


  • With NVDIA GRID added to VMware Horizon performance consistent with physical
  • BYOD and remote access now possible
  • User experience very positive as communicate to IT.

Old Dominion University

2,500 students


  • Current Horizon virtual desktop deployment did not support 3D applications (as no NVIDIA GRID product in deployment)
  • Direct X and OpenGL application not supported in earlier versions of VMware Horizon


  • Faculty and students can access lab at anytime from anywhere
  • Distance learning students and military students can gain access to key applications
  • Can offer specific needs per college for research needs without building new physical labs

Explore more case studies about how leading colleges and universities have achieved consistent performance and improved the virtual experience for students and faculty:

 Register to attend sessions at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference: