Pictured here are three of our first year scholarship recipients of the Undergraduate Engineering Scholars Program who walked at graduation this May. Darby J Van Uitert, Scott Little, and Rebecca Bott received their degrees from the University of Utah College of Engineering in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering respectively.
Established in 1999 by Chris Johnson and the College of Engineering, the Engineering Scholars Program is a scholarship opportunity for incoming freshmen interested in aspects of engineering and computer science. The quest of the ESP is to leverage the exciting engineering-based research at the University by exposing the first year students to actual research activities. The addition of a research component to the first year student's experience allows the student to see over the horizon offered by prerequisite courses. By giving the first year student a more in-depth look into engineering we propose to increase the enthusiasm level of the students with the result being significantly improved retention rates. Higher retention rates translate into a larger and better-trained graduating class of much-needed engineers and computer scientists.
These students are the best and brightest with an average GPA of 3.96 and an average ACT score of 31. Now in its fourth year, the number of scholarship recipients has increased from nine in 1999 to fifteen in 2002.
Steve Parker Accepts Computerworld Honors
The SCI Institute was recognized April 6th in San Francisco City Hall when it received the Computerworld Honors Medal of Achievement. The award is presented annually to men and women around the world who have made outstanding progress for society through the visionary use of information technology. Nominated by Robert Bishop of SGI for the development of the real time ray tracer, Steve Parker attended the black tie affair and accepted the medal on behalf of the Institute. Dr. Parker is the creator and principle developer of the real time ray tracer. The Star-ray interactive ray tracing system employs a novel approach for generating images of detailed scientific data, allowing users to understand large datasets that overwhelm traditional methods. With increased fidelity rendering, Star-ray can provide interactive exploration of medical, scientific and engineering datasets composed of gigabytes to hundreds of gigabytes of data.
Star-Ray is licensed and distributed through Visual Influence inc.
Chris Johnson Receives Distinguished Professor Award
SCI Institute Director Chris Johnson was recently promoted to the rank of Distinguished Professor of Computer Science. Professor Johnson's research through the years has focused on biomedical computing, visualization, inverse problems and problem solving environments. It is his continuing goal to use his work in scientific computing to create new techniques, tools, and systems, to solve problems affecting various aspects of human life.
SCI Institute Plays Role In Governor's State of the State
For four-year-old Natalie Wright, appearing in front of the state legislature might be just another exciting trip with her family. But, for Governor Mike Leavitt, Natalie represents the fundamental reason for leveraging research and technology within the state of Utah.
Natalie was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was two years old. Natalie's neurosurgeon knew they had to operate. Natalie's father, John Wright, and neurosurgeon, Dr. Jack Walker called upon the SCI Institute to provide an alternative to conventional technology. Combining years of experience with special techniques in data processing and scientific visualization, Dave Weinstein, Gordon Kindlmann, and Dr. Christopher Johnson created a useful visualization of Natalie's tumor.
The SCI Institute proudly releases SCIRun version 1.2.0. In direct response to feedback from program users and collaborators, this version contains several new features.
New Features of SCIRun v1.2.0
Dynamic Compilation and Loading
PETSc SLES support
Disjoint package builds
Dynamic Compilation and Loading
DCL provides dynamic compilation of algorithms in SCIRun which reduces compile-to-experiment time. Often called deferred compilation, the templated C++ code in SCIRun now compiles only when you use it.
Two SCIers, Darby Brown and Jesse Hall, were given a rare opportunity to showcase their work before the Utah State Legislature on January 18th. In conjunction with a University wide effort to show the benefits of undergraduate studies within a research institution, Darby and Jesse, both undergraduate members of the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, along with thirteen other students, made a poster presentation before the newly elected legislature.
“This is a great opportunity for both students and University alike,” says Ronald J.Pugmire. Associate Vice President for Research. “Not only are we given the opportunity to show off our undergraduate programs, but the students are given both the chance to represent their research to their elected officials as well as an early glimpse into the collaboration of education and government.”
SCI Institute Appeals to Local Business Leadership for Increases In State Funding
On January 17th Dr. Christopher Johnson, director of the SCI Institute, appealed to local information technology business leaders to assist in lobbying the Utah State Legislature for more funding for Engineering disciplines. Dr. Johnson presented an overview of the current research within the Institute with an emphasis on medicine.
He described the history of biomedical devices from EEG to MRI. The talk also included the story of a real patient treated in part with technology developed here at the SCI Institute. Dr. Johnson described the case of Sarah, a child diagnosed with a tumor near the top of her spinal column. In such cases, doctors are only able to see sets of two-dimensional slices generated from an MRI. The physician must then reconstruct a three-dimensional image from those slices. Using technology developed at the SCI Institute, the team of physicians was not only able to see the tumor in full three-dimensions, but they were also able to use stereo glasses to “virtually” maneuver inside of the MRI. The combination of these technologies gave the surgeons a much clearer visualization and persuaded them to alter how they were going to operate.
SCI Institute Hosts Governor to Launch Ambitious Engineering Educational Initiative
On March 19th, Governor Michael Leavitt visited the SCI Institute for a bill signing ceremony that marks the launch of an ambitious initiative to double the number of engineering and technology graduates over the next five years. The law provides funding for new faculty, pay increases, student loans, and infrastructure improvements. Most notably, it provides $15 million in matching funds for the construction of a new engineering building as well as $5 million for remodeling of the current Merrill Engineering Building. The new building will go directly north of the MEB. Gerald Stringfellow, the dean of the U of U College of Engineering, will be challenged to raise an additional $13 million in order to get the funding. Surrounded by students and some of the state's top political leaders, Gov. Leavitt discussed the importance of the new law. “This initiative is an essential step toward accelerating Utah's growth as a technology center,” he said. “It will help employers who face a critical shortage of engineers, and it will provide high-paying jobs for our children.”
map3d is a scientific visualization application developed at the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training (CVRTI) and the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute (SCI) at the University of Utah. The original purpose of the program was to interactively view scalar fields of electric potentials from measurements and simulations in cardiac electrophysiology. Its present utility is much broader but continues to focus on viewing three-dimensional distributions of scalar values associated with an underlying geometry consisting of node points joined into surface or volume meshes.
SCI Institute Director Gives Plenary Talk on Visualization at Supercomputing 2001
Dr. Chris Johnson delivered a plenary talk entitled "Scientific Visualization: Bridging the Complexity Threshold" at this year's Supercomputing conference in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Johnson discussed the need to bridge the "complexity threshold" in order to develop useful applications for analyzing data. He reviewed the state-of-the-art in visualization techniques, their use in real world applications, and presented an outline for future visualization research.