Bio: Thomas A. DeFanti, PhD, is a research scientist at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). Currently, he is principal investigator of the NSF International Research Network Connections Program TransLight/StarLight project, providing a persistent 10 Gigabit network link between the USA and Europe, and he is co-principal investigator of the NSF OptIPuter cooperative agreement with UCSD (Larry Smarr being the principal investigator).
Striving for a more than a decade to connect high-resolution visualization and virtual reality devices over long distances, DeFanti is leading state, national and international teams to build the most advanced production-quality networks available to scientists. He is a founding member of GLIF, the Global Lambda Integrated Facility, a global group that manages international switched wavelength networks for research and education. In the USA, DeFanti established the 10 Gigabit Ethernet CAVEwave research network between the University of Illinois at Chicago, Seattle, and UCSD/Calit2 for OptIPuter and other national/international research uses.
Research: Current research interests include: virtual environments, digital libraries, scientific visualization, new methodologies for informal science and engineering education, paradigms for information display, televisualization (distributed graphics over networks), algorithm optimization for massively parallel computing, sonification, human/computer interfaces, and abstract mathematical visualization.
In the 20 years has been at University of Illinois at Chicago, DeFanti has amassed a number of credits, including: use of EVL hardware and software for the computer animation produced for the Star Wars movie; early development of videogame technology; contributor and co-editor of the 1987 National Science Foundation-sponsored report Visualization in Scientific Computing; recipient of the 1988 ACM Outstanding Contribution Award; an appointment in 1989 to the Illinois Governor's Science Advisory Board; an appointment as a University Scholar for 1989-1992; recognition along with EVL co-director Daniel J. Sandin for conceiving the CAVE virtual reality theater in 1991; and, a recent invitation to be awarded the title of ACM Fellow (to be awarded in 1994).