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Distributed High-Tech for On-Demand Decision Making

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  • From: "Laura K. Wolf" <>
  • To: <>
  • Subject: Distributed High-Tech for On-Demand Decision Making
  • Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2004 11:32:48 -0500
  • Organization: EVL/STRC

April 26, 2004


CHICAGO, IL -- Specially equipped rooms in a business headquarters used for
conferences and planning, often referred to as war rooms, contain media
intended to support or facilitate intense problem solving sessions. While
flip-style tablets and white boards have long given way to computer
technology and videoconferencing, these rooms remain largely self-contained.

Researchers at University of Illinois at Chicago's Electronic Visualization
Laboratory (EVL) have developed a high-tech war room for scientists called
the Continuum, where distributed collaborators solve problems assisted by
advanced collaboration, computation and visualization technologies backed by
PC clusters connected over gigabit networks.

At this year's National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)
Private Sector Program Annual Meeting April 26-28, EVL associate professor
Jason Leigh and Ph.D. student Allan Spale will demonstrate three core
technologies of the Continuum Project -- GeoWall, TeraVision and Access

EVL's Continuum Project aims to develop integrated ubiquitous tools and
environments to enhance collaboration. These include interactive
stereoscopic displays, multi-site audio/video conferencing, and
high-resolution tiled displays.

"We want to understand how to build rooms with walls made of high-resolution
displays capable of both stereoscopic and monoscopic projection -- allowing
scientists and decision makers to see all of their data, all of the time,"
said Leigh. "We believe display-rich environments are a powerful way to
enhance group awareness in distance collaborations. It's something that
today's basic video conferencing tools have great difficulty conveying."

Working in a collaborative session between EVL in Chicago, the Technology
Research, Education, and Commercialization Center (TRECC) in DuPage County
and Beckman Institute in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC),
Leigh and Spale will operate two applications, MAEviz and ImmersaView.

MAEviz is an interactive visualization tool for earthquake risk assessment
developed by UIUC's Mid-America Earthquake Center (MAE Center) in
collaboration with NCSA. ImmersaView is an EVL-developed tool for viewing
stereoscopic three-dimensional data sets on the GeoWall, its portable,
passive-stereo projection system.

Graphics from MAEviz will be streamed to the collaborators at NCSA and TRECC
using EVL's TeraVision, a system for real-time high-resolution graphics
distribution. The AccessGrid will provide videocasting as well as a
standardized environment for launching collaborative applications such as

"Our goal with the Continuum Project is to make long-distance partnerships
more productive," said Tom Prudhomme, Senior Associate Director of NCSA's
Cybercommunities Directorate and the leader of the TRECC project. "Continuum
combines the hardware, software, networks and techniques that can enable
researchers and knowledge workers to transcend geographic boundaries."

TRECC, located at the DuPage County Airport, is a UIUC program funded by the
Office of Naval Research (ONR) and administered by NCSA. It supports
innovative research in advanced information technologies and their
application for the Navy R&D community. It also provides the DuPage business
and education communities access to next-generation technologies and
commercialization opportunities.

NCSA's Private Sector Program provides a competitive edge to American
companies, allowing them to access the emerging technologies and innovations
developed by NCSA and its partners. Through partnerships with leading-edge
companies, NCSA ensures that its developments address real-world challenges.
The current industrial partners are Allstate, Boeing, Caterpillar, Motorola
and Sears.

The NCSA Private Sector Program meeting takes place April 26-28 at
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Beckman Institute.

Useful links:
Continuum Project: <>
MAEviz: <>
AccessGrid: <>

About Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL)
EVL is an interdisciplinary laboratory offering degrees in computer science
and art, and specializing in virtual reality over high-speed networks.
Located at the University of Illinois at Chicago, EVL's funded research
projects include tele-immersion and collaboration software, the development
of viable, scalable, deployable stereo displays, and management of
next-generation advanced networking initiatives. For the past several years,
EVL has been conducting research in next-generation VR devices, to construct
variable resolution and desktop/office-sized displays. See:

About National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)
NCSA is a national high-performance computing center that develops and
deploys cutting-edge computing, networking and information technologies.
Located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), NCSA is
funded by the National Science Foundation. Additional support comes from the
state of Illinois, the University of Illinois, private sector partners and
other federal agencies. See: <>

Laura Wolf
Electronic Visualization Laboratory
University of Illinois at Chicago

Trish Barker
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

  • Distributed High-Tech for On-Demand Decision Making, Laura K. Wolf, 04/26/2004

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