Tuesday, December 2, 2014

CADENS: Supercomputing meets digital cinema

Donna Cox
  • NCSA/Donna Cox science documentary project awarded $1.5 M NSF grant
  • Supercomputing, arts and science communities invited to submit research and data materials – Dec. 21 deadline
Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA – CADENS has issued a call for participation (12/21 deadline) - seeking research and data visualizations from the supercomputing, arts, science and education communities - that states in part: "If your research generates, analyzes, or visualizes data and depends upon access to advanced cyberinfrastructure, your research and/or your visualizations can be considered for inclusion in the series of documentaries."
“The ability to generate and analyze giant data sets has produced a paradigm shift across all fields of inquiry. Compelling visualizations of these data connect with broad audiences and provide insight into a wide range of natural phenomena,” said Donna Cox, director of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), professor in Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and leader of CADENS (Centrality of Advanced Digitally ENabled Science).

Awarded a $1.5 M grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), CADENS will produce 12 science documentaries: three ultra-high-resolution fulldome shows designed for specialized, immersive dome theaters found in museums and planetariums, and nine high-definition programs for broadcast and online formats. The first in the series will be ‘Solar Superstorms,’ produced for fulldome theaters and rolling out in early 2015.

Supercomputing visualization of a solar storm. Image courtesy NCSA.
In addition to Cox, the CADENS team includes veteran science producer/writer Thomas Lucas (Thomas Lucas Productions), Spitz Creative Media and the leaders of the NSF-supported Blue Waters and XSEDE projects, which enable thousands of people across the country to carry out computational and data-driven research.
Thomas Lucas

“We anticipate topics ranging from census analyses to pandemic modeling, earthquakes, lifecycles of stars, severe weather, and deep mysteries inside our planet,” said Lucas. “We hope to open people’s eyes to whole new ways of seeing the world, and to show the passion of scientists on the verge of profound discoveries.”

Mike Bruno
“We’re excited to support Donna Cox and her team at NCSA in this ambitious effort,” said Rudolf Eigenmann, a program director in the advanced cyber-infrastructure division at NSF who oversees the award. “Our hope is that through visualization and visual storytelling, the project will help educate the public about what computational science is and how it impacts our lives.”

“Spitz Creative Media is delighted to be part of the CADENS project team and to partner once again with Donna Cox and Thomas Lucas,” said Mike Bruno, creative media director of Spitz Inc. “We expect to reach millions of viewers worldwide with ‘Solar Superstorms.’ Fulldome is the leading format in innovative, immersive digital cinema today, and quality fulldome programming is in high demand.”

‘Solar Superstorms’ will focus on the sun’s effects on earth’s atmospheric, communications, and power systems and will include supporting educational materials.

Members of the CADENS team will present a session on leveraging supercomputing for immersive media and science education at the 2015 IMERSA Summit in Denver, Feb 25-March 1.

About NCSA's Advanced Visualization Laboratory
The Advanced Visualization Laboratory’s (AVL) mission is to communicate science, inspiring audiences to learn about scientific concepts through capturing the thrill of scientific discovery and wonder of complex systems. Working in close collaboration with domain scientists, AVL creates high-resolution, cinematic, data-driven scientific visualizations. The lab is part of the University of Illinois’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), which is dedicated to providing powerful computers and expert support to help thousands of scientists and engineers across the country improve our world. Visit http://avl.ncsa.illinois.edu/.

About Thomas Lucas Productions
Thomas Lucas Productions, Inc. is a film editing and production company based in Armonk, New York. With productions that range from the vastness of space, to the depths of the ocean, to the center of volcanoes in amazing resolution, TLP is dedicated to making documentaries of the very highest quality. Visit http://tlproductions.com/.

About Spitz Creative Media
Spitz Creative Media partnerships have resulted in some of the most successful fulldome films in circulation, including Dynamic Earth, Supervolcanoes, and The Zula Patrol, now screening in hundreds of planetariums. The extensive Spitz fulldome content library also features such premium titles as Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity, seen by millions worldwide. Spitz is headquartered in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania USA, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation. Visit www.spitzinc.com.