ISA and Automation Federation to take part in fourth USA Science and Engineering Festival

  • March 31, 2016
  • Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

Representatives and volunteer members of the International Society of Automation (ISA) and its umbrella organization, The Automation Federation, will demonstrate fundamental processes of automation to young people at the fourth biennial USA Science & Engineering Festival, which will be held 15-17 April 2016 in Washington, DC. It is also the largest STEM celebration and education event of its kind in the U.S.

The free event, to be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, will feature more than 1,000 participating corporations and organizations and more than 3,000 hands-on exhibits and stage shows.

The USA Science & Engineering Festival plays an important role in encouraging young people to pursue learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and in expanding awareness about the virtues of STEM-related career fields, including automation. Through their participation and exhibition at the festival and other events like it, ISA and the Automation Federation broaden awareness and understanding of automation careers—a foundational step in cultivating the next generation of automation professionals.

More than 325,000 people, mostly primary and secondary students and their families, attended the 2014 USA Science and Engineering Festival—making it the largest event ever in the history of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Stop by the ISA/Automation Federation exhibit #1144 to learn more about automation, witness a fun demonstration of automation technology

A select group of practicing automation professionals—volunteering on behalf of the ISA Baltimore-Washington Section and the Automation Federation—will greet visitors and participants and festival family members at exhibit #1144 to answer questions about automation, explain the value and significance of automation careers, and outline common educational and training paths leading to occupations in the automation field. 

In addition, exhibit staff and volunteers will demonstrate a gaming system based on programmable logic controllers (PLCs)—small digital computers used for automating typical industrial electromechanical processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines, amusement rides, or light fixtures.

The display to be featured at the exhibit contains a PLC-5 controller, 96 lights and approximately 2,500 feet of wire. It required more than 400 hours to design, build, program, and test; and features eight games to choose from: Breakout, Maze, Memory, Pong, Snake, Space Invaders, Stacker, and Whack-A-Button!

The gaming system—built using salvaged parts from plant training equipment—demonstrates: how control circuits are wired for lights, switches, and buttons; how the switches use binary math for game selection; how the programs are structured; and how mathematics plays a key role in computer game programming. It also has been used to illustrate panel design concepts to college students.

Sneak Peak Friday

Sneak Peek Friday, to be conducted on Friday 15 April, is a special event open to school groups, homeschoolers and military families to preview and experience the festival exhibits before they open to the general public on Saturday and Sunday. 

Attendees will have access to interactive activities offered by leading science organizations from around the nation. Imagine chatting with Albert Einstein, flying a simulated jet fighter, being a crime scene investigator, building an underwater robot, taking a vacation in space or watching a science magician. These are just a few examples of the types of interactive activities and exhibits you will find at Sneak Peek Friday.

About the USA Science & Engineering Festival

The USA Science & Engineering Festival is a national grassroots effort to advance STEM education and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Our exhibitors, performers, speakers, partners, sponsors and advisors are a who-is-who of science and engineering in the United States: from major academic centers and leading research institutes and government agencies to cutting-edge high tech companies, museums and community organizations.

Our mission is to stimulate and sustain the interest of our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by producing and presenting the most compelling, exciting, and educational Festival in the world.

For more information, visit the event website at

About ISA

The International Society of Automation ( is a nonprofit professional association that sets the standard for those who apply engineering and technology to improve the management, safety, and cybersecurity of modern automation and control systems used across industry and critical infrastructure. Founded in 1945, ISA develops widely used global standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; hosts conferences and exhibits; and provides networking and career development programs for its 40,000 members and 400,000 customers around the world.

ISA owns, a leading online publisher of automation-related content, and is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (, an association of non-profit organizations serving as "The Voice of Automation." Through a wholly owned subsidiary, ISA bridges the gap between standards and their implementation with the ISA Security Compliance Institute ( and the ISA Wireless Compliance Institute (

About the Automation Federation 

The Automation Federation is a global umbrella organization of twenty (20) member organizations and seven working groups engaged in automation activities. The Automation Federation enables its members to more effectively fulfill their missions, advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications, and develop the workforce needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation. The Automation Federation is the "Voice of Automation." For more information about the Automation Federation, visit