San Diego, CA, November 18, 2005 -- The state of the art Calit2@UCSD building - named Atkinson Hall - was officially opened Friday, October 28. The all-day dedication event included more than 150 scientific research and art exhibits and demonstrations, representing nearly two dozen disciplinary areas. This is a look at some of them.
The dedication ceremonies kicked off the day with welcoming remarks from Ramesh Rao, Director of Calit2's UCSD Division. Celebratory remarks from university officials and keynote speaker, Paul Jacobs, CEO of QUALCOMM, and a few surprise announcements, followed. For those who were unable to attend the ceremony, streaming video of the dedication ceremony is now available for on-demand viewing from the Calit2 Multimedia archive. Additional details on the ceremony's speakers and announcements is also available. Links to these can be found below.
The flowing music and the gathering people in the engineering courtyard set the tone for the festivities, and for the building itself: engineering, technology, art, science, culture and people woven together to
begin the future. Music for Courtyard (2005), a sonic installation of synthetic and digitally produced sounds, was customized for the engineering courtyard and 'wormhole' pedestrian tunnel leading to the Calit2 entrance. The piece created a sonic environment of spatialized sound, filling and enhancing the public open space to portray the poetry and precision of mechanized processes. Based on custom algorithms written by Shahrokh Yadegari, UCSD Theater and Dance faculty, the piece was mixed real-time using sound layering and electronic audio techniques. Sound bytes were gathered from the flow of traffic and courtyard activity with digital filters and non-linear dynamics to create an evolving sound ambience. Three different layers of sounds were spatialized in the courtyard throughout the event. The synthesis process is based on principles found in non-linear dynamics whose parameters are controlled live during the processions of the event.
This new state of the art facility is also layered. Reconfigurable spaces allow for and encourage collaborations of all kinds, which can be rethought and redefined as needed. The clean room and materials characterization lab are located on the first floor with the new media arts facilities, auditorium and visualization laboratory. This design is intended to disrupt traditional boundaries and encourage new forms of collaboration between scientists and digital artists and musicians.
The multidisciplinary agenda is reflected in these shared facilities, which include clean rooms for nanofabrication, digital theaters for new media arts and scientific visualization, test and measurement labs for circuit design, smart spaces for experiments in augmented reality, testbeds for wireless and optical communications, and much more. At full capacity, Atkinson Hall will house 900 researchers, artists, engineers, students and staff, representing more than 20 departments across the campus.
The majority of the exhibits were from departments across the UCSD campus, often with multidisciplinary teams; a high percentage included student researchers (both graduate and undergraduate). Some also included researchers based at other academic institutions, and many of the research projects reflected collaborations with industry partners.
Exploration of the six story, 215,000 square feet facility and the exhibits gave a sampling of what the future might bring. Some exhibits will be highlighted here, accompanied by the project's title and researchers. The complete list of exhibitions and demonstrations is available on the Calit2@UCSD building dedication webpages.
One wing of the first floor is devoted to the clean rooms, which provide the cleanest lab environment available on any U.S. campus. Class 100 Clean Room Modules (areas with no more than 100 particles larger than 0.5 microns per cubic foot of air) will be used for nano- and microlithography (e-beam lithography and photolithography modules). Class 1000 (1000 particles no larger than 0.5 microns per cubic foot of air) have facilities for metallization/thin film deposition, advanced dry etching, metrology, thermal and back-end processes, used in nano- and microfabrication. One micron (or micrometer) is approximately 1/25,000 of an inch, or one millionth of a meter. One nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
The hallway of the clean room wing served as "Nanotechnology Row" for the day, with several graduate students presenting their current work. Outside one of the clean rooms, Forest Bohrer, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, presented "Fabrication and Chemical Sensitivity of Metallophthalocyanine ChemFETs." He expects that the clean rooms will be of great help, enabling a faster and higher yield once he has a stable, working, prototype. Reflecting the interdisciplinary core of the facility, Bohrer is a member of the AFOSR MURI Nanostructured Supersensors Group, which is comprised of faculty and student researchers from various fields, including Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Electrical Engineering. He is enjoying exposure to fields that he would not have otherwise had the opportunity to learn. -- Fabrication and Chemical Sensitivity of Metallophthalocyanine ChemFETs: Forest Bohrer, Cornel Colesniuc, Bernd Fruhberger, Andrew C. Kummel, Karla Miller, Jeongwon Park, Ivan K. Schuller, Amos Sharoni, William C. Trogler, and Richard Yang.
Another wing of the first floor is devoted to New Media Arts, providing state-of-the-art facilities for audio, video and interactive art research, including a motion-capture studio, audio spatialization lab, and virtual reality space to prototype technologies. In addition to developing and extending media arts and entertainment applications, scientists benefit from advances in the art and science of visualization because of its power to reveal data in different ways, spatially and visually. Increased resolution results in greater ability to look closely at data and begin to unravel and understand the information contained in it.
The big auditorium is the home of the 4K Digital Cinema, a 200-seat theater with the world's highest-resolution projector, four times the resolution of high-definition (in partnership with Sony). The auditorium also has 3D sound, stereo imaging and telepresence conferencing capabilities. Invited attendees were treated to a sneak preview of "When Things Get Small," a documentary on nanomagnetism. The film was made by UCSD physicist Ivan Schuller and UCSD-TV science producer Rich Wargo in collaboration with Not Too Serious Labs. It received a very positive response from the audience, and lived up to its billing as an irreverent, madcap, comically corny romp into the quest to create the smallest magnet ever known. The film took three years to create. The goal was to make science more accessible, as well as fun, and to convey a sense of the scale of this research. The auditorium was designed to show films such as this; Calit2 Director Larry Smarr told the audience that he was thrilled to have it as part of the building dedication events. The world premiere of the documentary will be on UCSD-TV, November 30 at 8 p.m. After which, it will be distributed for viewing in community schools. For more information, please see their UCSD-TV web site.
The Calit2 'Cave' is a 360-degree multi-screen, multi-user total immersion environment with access to large database visualization servers. Artist Todd Margolis presented his work, "Special Treatment," an immersive and interactive Virtual Reality installation which examines the strength and persistence of memory. It is a chilling ride by train car which deposits viewers in a sparsely populated concentration camp, which was pieced together from plans, photographs and other artifacts from Auschwitz II/Birkenau, Poland. Viewers become visitors as they explore the camp and architectural structures, listening in on conversations and other pieces of the past, as they fade in and out of perception. The experience of the viewers is driven by the one person who is attached to the installation and interacting with it. They get the best perspective, their choices and experience determine the experience of everyone else. In addition to the immersive technology, the piece takes advantage of 3D technology. When asked about the 'Cave' Margolis responded "I love the room." -- Special Treatment, Todd Margolis, Applied Interactives (AI), in partnership with (art)n. Margolis is a partner/member of Applied Interactives which is an artist-based non-profit organization based in Chicago. Currently, Margolis is the Technical Directory of The Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA), located on the first floor of Atkinson Hall (the new Calit2@UCSD building).
Next door to the 'Cave,' the 'Black Box' Theater is a two story, reconfigurable performance space, intended for multiple purposes, including experiments on an audience's relationship to the physical environment and mediated elements.
There were several exhibits about the work of Serge Belongie (faculty, Department of Computer Science and Engineering) and his Vision Lab on Recognizing Cars. The research group consists of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. They have designed a car recognition system (embedded platform) for surveillance purposes, which, given low-resolution video data as input is able to maintain a database of the license plate and make and model information of all cars observed. It has a 90% accuracy rate, if the make/model are in the database. In addition to their 90% accuracy rate, their emphasis on using low cost hardware, and on not bundling their system with expensive, unnecessary hardware, makes them a very affordable choice for cities. Their system can be deployed over a cities' existing infrastructure. What is the future for this technology (other than driving tickets)? In addition to pursuing other classes of objects (for example, recognition of help in everyday life), there is some consideration of using it in robotic platforms. -- Video-Based Car Surveillance: License Plate, Make, and Model Recognition, Serge Belongie, Louka Dlagnekov, Kevin King, and Stephan Steinbach.
System on a Chip (SoC). It is not always the flashiest that takes us the farthest. A small but highly interested group of industry representatives were seen gathered around Ayse Coskun (graduate student, Computer Science and Engineering), who was presenting, "Reliable Low-Power SoC Design." They were discussing and examining technical details with her. The work had clearly piqued their interest, and may very well continue, possibly leading to improvements in design, partnerships, eventually better, more efficient and cost effective products for everyday living. -- Reliable Low-Power SoC Design: A. Coskun, G. De Micheli (EPFL), Y. Leblebici, K. Mihic (Stanford), T. Simunic Rosing, Cypress Semiconductor, and STMicroelectronics.
QUALCOMM had a number of exhibits, current CDMA Technologies, Corporate R&D, and product lines BREW and MediaFLO were highlighted. QUALCOMM's BREW is a family of modular products and services dedicated to accelerating wireless data worldwide. The MediaFLO System is a comprehensive, end-to-end solution designed specifically to address the challenges of efficiently and cost-effectively distributing mass volumes of high-quality mobile multimedia to wireless subscribers.
Some projects cross international borders, literally. Raúl Hazas Izquierdo of the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada, CICESE, located in Baja California, Mexico and Carlos Casasús of the Corporación Universitaria para el Desarrollo de Internet (CUDI) presented on their ongoing work to strengthen the fiber optics ties between Mexico and the U.S. -- Opening a University Fiber Highway between Mexico and the USA: Carlos Casasús (CUDI), Mike Crowley (Sea Space), Luis Farfan (CICESE), Eric Frost (SDSU), John Graham (SDSU), Raúl Hazas Izquierdo (CICESE), and Dave Wilensky (Sea Space).
An interactive multimedia performance provided the finale of the dedication ceremonies. A special preview performance of SPECFLIC Version 1.0 was played in the courtyard. By way of introduction, master of ceremonies Rao said "SPECFLIC is a story that is not just told, but experienced." In response to instructions from SPECFLIC: "Please turn on your cell phones" - a phrase not often heard these days, attendees began dialing to formally open the institute's doors. When 'critical mass' was achieved, the building was unveiled amid banners, balloons, and glitter swirling above the courtyard.
SPECFLIC is speculative distributed cinema: a cinematic form which envisions and performs our near future through the lenses of our current technological landscape. SPECFLIC uses cutting edge transmission and display technologies to expand a critical dialogue (begun in science fiction literature and cinema) about the social effects of these very technologies. -- SPECFLIC Version 1.0 - Distributed Speculative Cinema: Adriene Jenik and friends. Directed by Adriene Jenik, faculty member Visual Arts. Additional text by author Kim Stanley Robinson. Featuring performances by Allison Janney, Ricardo Dominguez, Richard Jenik, Lisa Brenneis and Nao Bustamante Innovative public interaction modules by Neil McCurdy, Andrew Collins, Robert Twomey, DoEat and Radioactive Radio.