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ACMD Seminar: Virtual Reality Toolsmithing for Science

David Laidlaw
Professor, Computer Science, Brown University

Friday, September 7, 15:00 - 16:00
Building 101 Lecture Room D

Friday, September 7, 13:00 - 14:00
Building 1 Room 4072

Host: Judith Terrill

Abstract:  My research is primarily organized around accelerating science via interactive visualization and computational tools.  In particular, I like to figure out how a human can be augmented via interactive visuals to better understand complicated multi-dimensional, multi-valued datasets.  Fred Brooks, Jr., would call such work Computer Science Toolsmithing, an idea he spoke and wrote about in the 90's.  Other labels that have been applied to this kind of work over the years are Scientific Visualization, Visual Analytics, Scientific Computing, and Data Science.

I will present some of the science-driven virtual-reality tools we have developed over the last 20 years, mostly using a Cave VR display. The scientific problems were a core aspect of the tool development, and I will give a sense of them and how those collaborations worked.  From that work, we learned some lessons about VR visualization, which I'll share.  Informed by those lessons, we designed and built a new VR Cave we call the Yurt, and I'll take you on a virtual tour of it, showing some of our ongoing scientific applications.  I hope to engage some of you to come to Rhode Island and see it and possibly to work together on tools that might help accelerate your science.

Bio: David H. Laidlaw is a professor of computer science at Brown University.  He received his PhD from Caltech in computer science, where he also did postdoctoral work in the Division of Biology.  His research interests revolve around visualization and modeling applications of computer graphics and computer science to other scientific disciplines.  Dr. Laidlaw has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, has served on or co-chaired dozens of conference committees, has been an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, was awarded the 2008 IEEE VGTC Visualization Technical Achievement Award, and has received other awards from IEEE Visualization, ACM SIGGRAPH, and NSF.

Note: Visitors from outside NIST must contact Cathy Graham; (301) 975-3800; at least 24 hours in advance.


Created August 24, 2018, Updated October 3, 2023