Artists Bring Ancient World Alive With Cutting Edge Technology at 21st Century Tech Road Show

in News Releases, Science & Technology
August 10th, 1999

Contact: Joan Schwartz, | joans@bu.edu

(Boston, Mass.) – This September, tourists will be able to explore the ruins of an imaginary ancient palace, bringing to light the artifacts of a long-lost civilization, interacting with kinetic sculptures and chatting with other visitors to this virtual world. The magical 3-D world of Spirited Ruins is the latest creation of the Boston University-based consortium, High Performance Computing in the Arts (HiPArt), where researchers and artists work in close collaboration and visitors connect and interact through the Internet with other virtual laboratories around the country.

The virtual tour is only one of the highlights of a four-day conference previewing how a new computer backbone, the Alliance Grid, being built by National Computational Science Alliance (Alliance), will change the way business, education, and research are conducted in the 21st century. Sponsored by the Alliance, the conference, or Chautauqua, will be held at Boston University September 13 – 16.

Chatauqua is a Seneca Indian word for meeting or gathering adopted during the Industrial Revolution to describe the traveling educational meetings that crossed the country promoting new technology. The Chautauquas, with demonstrations and seminars originating at sites across the country linked via the Alliance Grid, will bring together researchers, teachers, students, journalists, and entrepreneurs for a preview of how this dynamic new interactive environment will work.

The Grid integrates multiple sites and multiple computer capabilities, including streaming audio, video, PowerPoint presentations, shared whiteboards, chat rooms – anything that can be done on a single computer can be done collaboratively from multiple sites via the Grid. The new technology supports activities such as distributed meetings, remote visualization, and distance education. It also facilitates tele-immersion – where people at different sites work together in virtual environments – a group of surgeons at sites across the country collaborating on a new surgical procedure or a group of artists developing a new film project, would be able to work together in ways never before possible.

While this interactive participation is currently available through high-priced, proprietary telecommunications technologies, the Chautauquas will showcase emerging technologies that offer readily accessible and affordable alternatives.

“The Chautauquas will give new audiences the chance to experience the possibilities of the Grid, including remote collaborative tutorials and seminars that allow for group interactions,” said Larry Smarr, director of the Alliance and the National Center for Supercomputer Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “The Grid is really a preview of the work and educational environment of the 21st century.”

The Alliance’s three Chautauqua 99 sites (the University of New Mexico, August 9-10; the University of Kentucky, August 22-23; and Boston University, September 13-15) are among the early nodes on the Access Grid, giving researchers, educators, students and the general public entry points into this new system of online collaborative work environments.

A schedule of conference highlights is attached. Further details about the Boston event can be found at http://www.bu.edu/tech/research/visualization/about/hipart/events/. For information about the other Chautauquas, visit the Alliance web site at http://www.alliance.ncsa.uiuc.edu/chautauqua/.

“We expect the Chautauqua to stimulate a new level of creativity in the nationwide digital research community,” says Glenn Bresnahan, director of Scientific Computing and Visualization at Boston University. “Our meeting in Boston is an opportunity to involve larger groups of researchers, teachers, students and company representatives in the development of future technology that will soon be as accessible as the Internet is today.”

Please contact Joan Schwartz, 617/353-4626, joschwar@bu.edu for complimentary press registration.

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