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Cutting-edge visualization technology now at UA


Photo
JOSH FIELDS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
CCIT Research Specialist Marvin Landis shows how to use AZ-Live, a highly specialized visualization system that allows the user to view data in 3-D format.
By Troy J. Acevedo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
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Researchers and students on the UA campus have access to a cutting-edge 3-D visualization technology that will give participants the ability to create, explore and manipulate an environment of their choosing.

Scientific visualization, similar to AZ-Live, has been conducted on campus for the last 15 years, but AZ-Live is the first of its kind to hit campus and has garnered little attention from people wishing to use it.

The project is an effort to take the endeavor to the next level by allowing users to get right into the middle of their data, said Marvin Landis, Center for Computer and Information Technology research specialist and creator of AZ-Live.

Students and researchers alike can now incorporate their data into a 3-D environment using a specific programming language called "C+++." Once completed, the program gives users an opportunity to see projects in a way that enables more accurate analysis.

The $400,000 project was funded primarily through a Technology and Research Initiative Fund, money available for research computing. Landis was the only member of the design and construction team. Construction of the system began in May and was completed in January.

"I really enjoy working on projects like this so I really don't keep track of time. I do know that I spent more hours then I can count," Landis said.

The main viewing area provides an almost total environment with four 8-by-10-foot screens on three sides and the floor which can also be reconfigured based on the number of users.

The system is available for everyone on campus to use, free of charge. Landis will also provide consulting and programming support in an effort to help integrate more projects into the system.

Pierre Deymier, a professor of material science, said the program is helpful for him because it allows him to visualize his data rather than imagining what it looks like.

"The AZ-Live system has been very useful in my work," Deymier said. "I use a lot of atomic simulation to predict the behavior of materials. Being able to visualize the data in 3-D format is a great asset."

Three or four departments currently have operable environments with several others expressing interest, which also allows a better opportunity for interdepartmental cooperation, Landis said.

"This semester we are going to focus on getting the word out. We have been giving a lot of demonstrations this semester, which is a good sign," Landis said.

Anyone one interested in viewing the AZ-Live system or creating a project should contact Landis at CCIT, Room 306.



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