, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Science Applications International Corporation, State Farm Research Center , Riverglass Inc. Numerous other software and technology companies also have offices in Champaign including Wolfram Research, AMD, Intel, IBM, Amdocs, Instarecon, Phonak, Power World, Caterpillar Simulation Center, and Volition, Inc..The United States Army Corps of Engineers maintains the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) in Champaign.Thanks to the university and a number of well known technology startup companies, it is often referred to as the hub, or at least a significant landmark, of the Silicon Prairie. Champaign was founded in 1855, when the Illinois Central Railroad laid its rail track two miles west of downtown Urbana.Champaign houses offices for seven Fortune 500 companies, and two more are planned to arrive soon. Originally called "West Urbana," it was renamed Champaign when it acquired a city charter in 1860.The city also hosts the state Science Olympiad competition every year.The University of Illinois is next expected to host the National competition in 2010. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.0 square miles (44.1 km²), of which, 17.0 square miles (44.0 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.12%) is water.The population density was 3,974.6 people per square mile (1,534.4/km²).
As one of the most visible buildings in the downtown district, it serves as a city symbol, with its likeness featured on the city seal.
Champaign's major employers include The University of Illinois, Champaign Unit #4 School District, Parkland College, Kirby Foods, Christie Clinic, Devonshire Group LLC, Amdocs, City of Champaign, Hobbico and Horizon Hobby.
Other major employers outside the city limits of Champaign that employ significant numbers of Champaign residents include Kraft Foods (unincorporated Champaign Township), Carle Clinic Association and Provena Health (both in Urbana).
In addition to the University of Illinois, Champaign is also home to Parkland College.
Herff-Jones (formerly the Collegiate Cap and Gown) also forms part of the city's industrial base.