Calit2 Brings Future of Visualization and Global Collaboration to SC09
Portland, Ore., Nov. 19, 2009 — Attendees of SC09 — the leading international conference on high-performance computing, networking, storage and analysis — got a taste of Calit2 technologies this week when representatives from the institute's University of California, San Diego division delivered talks and showcased state-of-the-art 3-D visualization and videoconferencing technologies.
Half a dozen Calit2 researchers and staff attended the weeklong convention held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore. While Calit2 did not host its own booth at this year's convention, it was invited to showcase technologies and deliver talks in the booths organized by partner organizations.
One such partner is Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which mounted its booth at SC for the second year in a row — and the first since the university opened its doors in September to its inaugural graduate-school class. Representatives from KAUST were at SC09 to recruit collaborators, students and faculty from among the conference's 318 exhibitors and thousands of attendees.
Under a four-year agreement, Calit2 is helping KAUST develop advanced visualization and virtual-reality systems, including half a dozen systems that were up and running in time for KAUST's opening festivities. One of those systems was the NexCAVE, a VR display system crafted from HDTV LCD flat screen displays developed by JVC. For KAUST's booth, Calit2 shipped from San Diego the 10-panel prototype of the NexCAVE developed before the full system was built in Saudi Arabia.
SCinet, the powerful 400-gigabit/second communications network built each year for the SC conference, made it possible for Calit2 Research Scientist Jürgen Schulze to establish a 'cave-to-cave' experience with Calit2's Joe Keefe and Kara Gribskov. Using the NexCAVE prototype temporarily located on the convention center floor, conference attendees were able to tour a virtual model of Calit2's Atkinson Hall by remotely linking to the StarCAVE virtual-reality environment in San Diego.
"Everybody's been blown away by the NexCAVE," recounted Calit2 Research Scientist Tom DeFanti from the conference. "Since this is a supercomputing conference, the focus is on supercomputers, which aren't much to look at. The NexCAVE is the only new visualization device at this show. We brought it because I was sure no one else would have one, and it looks fabulous here."
Calit2 Engineer Greg Dawe, Keefe, DeFanti, Schulze, and Programmer Andrew Prudhomme developed the NexCAVE for the newly opened King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia's first co-ed university and a fast-emerging world leader in visualization technologies.
Separately, DeFanti was invited to deliver a lecture as part of a series in the SC09 booth operated by the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), which operates the state's high-bandwidth, high-capacity networks for research and educational institutions. In his talk titled "Better than Going There: Globally Shared Visualization," DeFanti detailed the latest advances in tiled LCD panel displays, including reduced bezeling, affordable networks, switches and interface cards, and software to integrate it all. In addition, he delivered a presentation at the National LambdaRail booth entitled "Extending Project GreenLight to the Networks."
Also representing Calit2 in the CENIC seminar series: UCSD Electrical and Computing Engineering Professor George Papen, who is affiliated with Calit2's Photonics Lab and the NSF-funded Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN). Papen presented a lecture on building a Scalable Energy Efficient Datacenter (SEED), with a primary focus on developing an integrated solution that encompasses physical layer hardware, protocols, and topologies while minimizing the cost and energy per switched bit.
Calit2 also made a cameo appearance in the SC09 opening address, which was delivered by Intel's Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner and titled "The Rise of the 3D Internet." Featured in the talk's opening video reel was "Scalable City," a video installation created by Calit2 artist-in-residence Sheldon Brown from a data visualization pipeline that builds upon digital artifacts and the patterns of algorithmic process. Brown is the Director of UCSD's Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA) and its Experimental Game Lab. He was invited by Wilf Pinfold, the General Chair of SC09, to present his video as part of Rattner's lecture.
Established 21 years ago as Supercomputing, the SC conference series has built a diverse community of participants including researchers, scientists, applications developers, IT industry reps, journalists and many others. It has become a "must attend" forum for stakeholders throughout the technical computing community, with the attendance at this year's conference estimated to be nearly 2,000 people representing more than 70 countries.
Tiffany Fox, (858) 246-0353, firstname.lastname@example.org