Computer Science Colloquium
Immersive Virtual Reality in Scientific Visualization
Andries van Dam
Friday, February 4, 2005 11:30 A.M.
Room 1302 Warren Weaver Hall
251 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012-1185
Colloquium Information: http://cs.nyu.edu/csweb/Calendar/colloquium/index.html
Demetri Terzopoulos firstname.lastname@example.org, (212) 998-3477
Visualization leverages the massively parallel computer that is the
human visual system, enabling users to see and understand features,
patterns, trends, and anomalies in data. It is an important, but often
underappreciated (and underutilized) aspect of computational
simulation. This talk focuses on the applications of visualization in
immersive virtual reality (IVR), particularly our four-walled 8x8 foot
The Cave provides the user with wide field of view, head-tracked
stereo, to create the illusion of being immersed in a data set or
model, whose size can range from nanoscale to cosmic. Body-centric
interaction using a variety of input devices is used to provide a far
more compelling experience of navigating and interacting with the
scene than is possible on a conventional desktop display with a
standard WIMP GUI. Our scientists tell us that they see phenomena more
rapidly and more clearly than had been possible before; some assert
that they were able to gain new insights that they couldn't have
obtained with conventional displays. We are butressing such anecdotal
evidence with controlled user studies.
I will show examples (via monoscopic video) from Brown research in
several different scientific areas, including modeling of blood flow
through arterial bypass graphs, the exploration of the Martian polar
ice cap, and biological volume rendering. Finally, I will list some of
the research problem in interactive scientific visualization that are
common to many of the application domains.
Andries van Dam is Brown University's Vice President for Research and
the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Professor of Technology and Education and
Professor of Computer Science. He has been a member Brown's faculty
since 1965. van Dam is a founder of Brown's Computer Science
Department and was its first Chairman, from 1979 to 1985. His research
includes work on computer graphics, text processing, hypermedia, and
systems for creating and reading electronic books with interactive
van Dam is the co-author of nearly a dozen books, including the
standard reference text in the field of computer graphics, Computer
Graphics: Principles and Practice, with J.D. Foley, S.K. Feiner, and
J.F. Hughes (Addison-Wesley 1990). He has authored or coauthored over
100 papers. Professor van Dam is currently working on a
ground-breaking new textbook with co-author K. Sanders on
object-oriented programming for beginners, using graphics.
van Dam has received numerous awards, including the ACM SIGGRAPH
Steven A. Coons Award (1991), the IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr.
Education Medal (1999), and the CRA Distinguished Service Award
(2002). In 1996 he was inducted into the National Academy of
Engineering and in 2000 he became a Fellow of the American Academy of
Arts and Sciences. He has an honorary Ph.D. from Darmstadt Technical
University in Germany (1995), and from Swarthmore College (1996). In
the spring of 2004, van Dam was honored by his friends and former
students with the creation of the Andries van Dam Professorship for
Teaching and Research in Computer Science chair.
Professor van Dam received a B.S. degree, with honors, in Engineering
Sciences from Swarthmore College in 1960 and an M.S. (1963) and Ph.D.
(1966) from the University of Pennsylvania.
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