3D­-Imaging Researchers to Set Up Shop at Saudi University

    UCSD announced a new partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia last week with hopes of developing research methods in scientific visualization and virtual reality. The KAUST campus is slated to house the world’s most advanced visualization facilities, making possible groundbreaking research in areas ranging from solar power to clean water to new medicines.

    The Geometric Modeling and Scientific Visualization Research Center proposes researchers the opportunity to render interactive, 3-D visual experiences from raw scientific data, allowing for progress in various scientific and technological fields.

    Under a four-year agreement, KAUST is committed to fund the partnership $8 million, while UCSD will supply the personnel to develop prototypes of new visualization facilities. Additionally, UCSD experts will oversee KAUST contractors during construction.

    The UCSD division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology was approached by KAUST primarily due to its global reputation as a leader in information technology and telecommunications, said UCSD Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs Steven W. Relyea, who represented the university at a meeting in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, earlier this month.

    “KAUST is looking to build the most advanced facilities in the world — facilities that can be used by researchers in many fields to enhance their research — and UC San Diego is one of the top campuses in the world specializing in this area,” Relyea said.

    The visualization technology will give scientists and engineers new insight into a multitude of technological fields by allowing for the examination of large data sets with interactive options.

    “There are few scientific disciplines that would not benefit from this partnership,” Relyea said. “Computers and networking are changing every field, from biology to the social sciences, and researchers are increasingly dealing with such massive data sets that it is almost impossible to understand the data unless you have a way to visualize the information.”

    The proposed KAUST visualization system would create the most advanced visualization suite in the world, hosting the highest-resolution imagery and brightest virtual environment. Over time, this technology is expected to expand beyond the KAUST campus to research partners in Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East. Similar facilities are also expected to be installed on the UCSD campus.

    “KAUST and Cal-(IT)2 share a common interest in using new technology to tear down the traditional walls between scientists, disciplines and even countries,” said Ramesh Rao, director of the UCSD division of Cal-(IT)2 and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering.

    Relyea similarly commended the multinational partnership.

    “The university recognizes that higher education, especially in science and technology, is now global, and these partnerships benefit both countries and societies by minimizing the barriers to new knowledge,” he said.

    The new research center will be enhanced with the capability to digitally record sessions from each of the facility’s displays in high definition, and will feature a first-of-its-kind audio system designed in collaboration with UCSD and professional sound manufacturer Meyer Audio.

    “The combination of all the systems together makes a statement to the rest of the world that KAUST is committed to providing the ultimate scientific visualization suite anywhere on the planet,” KAUST interim Chief Information Officer Majid Al-Ghaslan said.

    Potential applications for the new visualization technology include nanoscale observation of inner-cell activity, helpful in devising new ways of transporting medicine, and the creation of earthquake simulations to measure how buildings react to seismic tremors, crucial to formulating new construction techniques and materials.

    KAUST is currently being constructed in Saudi Arabia as an international, graduate-level research university. It is set to open its doors in September 2009.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $2505
    $2500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $2505
    $2500
    Contributed
    Our Goal