The Future

The Future:

  1. Advanced Communications & Information Tech Center (ACITC)
  2. ACITC University Visualization and Animation Group (UVAG)
  3. Scientific Modeling and Visualization Classroom (SMVC)

Advanced Communications & Information Technology Center ACITC

Virginia Tech is committed to building an Advanced Communications and Information Technology Center (ACITC) building which is presently under construction. To the right is a picture of a tentative model showing how the ACITC building connects with the current library. One of the ACITC activities is the Library Information Systems. The link between information technology and the library is the bridge spanning the present mall in front of the VT War Memorial.

Preliminary plans include the creation of nine activities that support the development or use of information and communications technologies. The ACITC Building will house nine activities or centers which are listed below along with the respective "ACITC authors".

  1. Human Computer Interaction: Center / ISE Laboratory, John Carroll
  2. Fiber Optics, Rick Claus
  3. Wireless Communications/Mobile and Portable Radio Group, Ted Rappaport,
  4. Parallel Computing, Cal Ribbens
  5. Univeristy Visualization and Animation Group: / VT - CAVE(tm), Ron Kriz
  6. Computer Networking, Judy Lilly
  7. Multimedia and Learning Resources, John Moore
  8. High Technology Classrooms
  9. Library Information Systems
Principal Contacts:

A group of ACITC "authors", Virginia Tech administrators and key faculty planned a trip to NCSA (Oct95) to discuss possible collaborations with NCSA that might benefit our respective programs. As a result of our visit to NCSA we submitted a proposal to NCSA to become a partner with NCSA in our future activities related to supercomputing, computer communications and visualization. Our proposal was accepted and Virginia Tech is now part of the NCSA-SGI Power Grid Alliance. This alliance provides training and offers substantial discounts on SGI equipment. As a result of this alliance NCSA was a partner in Viriginia Tech's NSF CISE ARI proposal to build a CAVE for the ACITC and also invited Virginia Tech to participate in the renewal of NCSA as an NSF supercomputer center for the next ten years: NCSA-Partnership in Advanced Computational Infrastructure (PACI). Related to the NCSA-SGI Power Grid Alliance the College of Engineering purchased an I-Desk system to create the Visualization and Animation Laboratory of Engineering (VALE)

The ACITC University Visualization and Animation Group (UVAG): "VT-CAVE(tm)"

In collaboration with NCSA the ACITC University Visualization and Animation Group (UVAG) will house a "CAVE". We plan on using the CAVE not only as a research tool but also as a classroom for key lectures that can benefit from access to these resources. An expand view of sections A & B show the details of the lab and classroom. As a founding member of the CHCI center we plan on working closely with the newly formed University Center for Human Computer Interactioni (CHCI) (E). These and other activities, shown in the figure to the Left, in a top view showing the flow information from the Parallel Computations Group (A) into the Visualization and Animation Group (A,B). The flow of information can continue into the Multimedia Lab (D) and the Learning Resources Lab (F) and the Learning Resources Classroom (G). Together, from this experience, we will develop appropriate and useful interfaces that will benefit the variety of educational and research programs both on and off campus. A vision statement explains how CAVE(tm) technology will be used to build a bridge between research and education programs at Virginia Tech: Artists will work with 3D objects just like Biochemists ,who work with complex 3D chemical structures, Fluid Dynamists, who work with 3D volumes, and Architects, who walk through 3D structures. Such a center will serve all Colleges and Departments on campus. An addition to the Visualization Group is the Animation Group. A proposal has been submitted to combine the Visualization and Animation Groups into one. Another addition to the UVAG is the Scientific Modeling and Visualization Classroom (SMVC) which will be located in the shared Visualization Lab area next to the CAVE. In the spirit of the ACITC philosophy to link information resources both on- and off-campus, Visual Numerics Inc. (VNI) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUN) has co-sponsored the SMVC and the SUN/VNI Java Wave Server in an effort to create a "Distributed Visual Scientifc Computing Enviornment". Associated with SMVC and its' server is a NSF funded "Combined Research Curriculum Developement" (CRCD) project to create an interactive visual computing environment for research collaboration and curriculum development using Java and Web technologies.

Presently we are in the process of creating a University Center that can be used by other off-campus universities/companies and on-campus researchers and faculty. The Research Division is currently creating advisory committees for CAVE activities that will provide quidelines for both off- and on-campus CAVE projects.

University Visualization Core Team Members:

Because of the extended interest across campus the "core" group is in the process of creating a new University Center "Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments", which will replace the old name University and Visualization and Animation Group. You can also review a list of Extended Team Members:

Proposals related to ACITC and the Computer Visualization and Animation Group:

Scientific Modeling and Visualization Classroom

Ron Kriz

This university classroom would directly meet the needs of courses that depend heavily on sophisticated, hands-on, interactive graphics, scientific visualization, and virtual reality hardware and software to develop and study models of physical phenomena. While the facility could conceivably function in an "open" laboratory, together with the existing Laboratory for Scientific Visual Analysis, mode during off-hours, thereby benefiting other courses and research, the primary purpose of the classroom is to provide a sophisticated instructional environment for regularly scheduled courses. We have submitted an Education Grant Proposal to Sun Microsystems Computer Corporation (SUN) and Visual Numerics Incorporated (VNI) for additional hardware and software. Additional funding was provided by VNI to develop a Distributed Visual Computing Environment where web based educational tools were created by combining Sun's Java and VNI's PV-Wave. This collaboration was largley motivated by a student project, "Scientific Applications on the Internet: PV-Wave and Java" by Arturo Falck.

In the planning document we discuss the rationale for such a classroom, outline a proposed system of governance, and estimate the resources needed to establish and maintain the facility. A final section of this planning document includes examples of courses which could be taught in the proposed classroom; these examples were contributed by faculty members from 8 different departments who have expressed interest in this proposal.

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Virginia Tech

Created December 1995
Modified February 2001