Andries van Dam
Immersive Virtual Reality in Scientific Visualization
Abstract: 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 Cave.
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 enable a far more compelling 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 buttressing 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 grafts, exploration of the Martian polar ice cap, and biological volume rendering. Finally, I will list some of the research problems in interactive scientific visualization that are common to many of the application domains.
Biography: 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 of Brown's faculty since 1965, 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, hypermedia systems, post-WIMP user interfaces, including pen-centric computing, and educational software. He has been working for nearly four decades on systems for creating and reading electronic books with interactive illustrations for use in teaching and research.
He is the co-author of nearly a dozen books including, Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice, with James D. Foley, Steven K. Feiner, and John F. Hughes (Addison-Wesley 1990). He received a BS degree, with honours, in Engineering Sciences from Swarthmore College in 1960 and PhD (1966) from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Fellow of Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), IEEE, and AAAS, is a member of National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, has won a number of awards including the ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award for Education Medal, and holds honorary doctorates from Swarthmore College and Darmstadt Technical University.