Archive for the ‘videos’ category


‘Solar Superstorms’ Combines Computational Science and Data Visualization

September 10th, 2015

solar superstormThe 24-minute scientific documentary that was released this summer about the dynamics of the sun may soon be coming to a planetarium near you.

Solar Superstorms” is a new documentary that features data-driven visualizations that have been computed on the giant new supercomputing initiative, Blue Waters, based at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The documentary deputed on June 30th, 2015 at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum in Baton Rouge and has since then been appearing in over a dozen planetariums around the world. “Solar Superstorms” is part of project CADENS (Centrality of Digitally Enabled Science).

CADENS is a National Science Foundation supported project to increase digital literacy and inform the general public about computational and data-enabled scientific discovery.

The documentary is narrated by actor Benedict Cumberbatch and asks the question:

What can cause our normally benign sun to erupt in such fury that it can threaten the world’s power and technological infrastructure?

To answer the question the documentary displays the inner workings of the sun. To create the documentary the NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) used the Blue Waters supercomputer to visualize solar events, such as the interaction of solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field.

 In addition to “Solar Superstorms,” CADENS will produce two more ultra-high-resolution digital documentaries for giant screen fulldome theaters and nine high-definition documentaries for online distribution via YouTube, Hulu and other outlets.

Read more about “Solar Superstorms” here and watch the trailer here.


Skin Biophysics Surgical Simulator: A Computing Research in Action Showcase

May 19th, 2015

CS_SurgerySim4_King Sifakis Cutting

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is releasing its fifth segment in the Computing Research in Action Series.  Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are engaging in a very exciting interdisciplinary activity between computer science and medicine. Professor Eftychios Sifakis, collaborating with Dr. Court Cutting and Dr. Timothy King, has built a computer aided platform that allows surgeons in training to rehearse, plan, and experiment with surgical procedures before actually trying them out on a real patient. The research program is called the Skin Biophysics Surgical Simulator and is funded by the National Science Foundation‘s Smart and Connected Health initiative.

My vision is that this product is going to improve the quality of patient care by offering the clinical practitioner a better platform in which to exercise and hone their skill. -Eftychios Sifakis

004This work has immense potential to reduce errors, minimize post-surgical complications and improve patients’ quality of life. Advances in computing technology have also broadened what is possible. Sifakis’ end goal is to create a simulator that can be downloaded on a tablet or other mobile device, making it easier for busy surgeons. The longterm potential for this research is very bright with many possibilities.

The CCC is still accepting submissions for the Computing Research in Action series. Selected projects will receive a $1,500 travel award for a research team member to present the featured project at a conference. We encourage you to submit your research project for consideration by filling out this short entry form. If you have any questions about our series, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Helen Wright, CCC Program Associate.

Global City Teams Challenge Tech Jam Resources

March 2nd, 2015


The Global City Teams Challenge Tech Jam was a success!

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and US Ignite initiative designed to advance the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies within a smart city / smart community environment was attended by more than 250 people. Representatives of 34 existing teams presented and several new Action Clusters were created during the well-received working sessions.

You can find Tech Jam resources here:

What is next for the Global City Teams Challenge?

GCTC Action Cluster teams are working hard to finalize their projects in anticipation of the GCTC Festival in June. Many of the Action Clusters have developed a one-slide summary of their projects, a collection of these one-sliders can be found on SlideShare.

WATCH Talk-Differential Privacy: Theoretical and Practical Challenges

January 12th, 2015

WATCHThe next WATCH Talk is this Thursday, January 15, 12:00-1:00pm EDT. Salil Vadhan will discuss Differential Privacy: Theoretical and Practical Challenges. Dr. Salil Vadhan is the Vicky Joseph Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics in the Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Director of the Harvard Center for Research on Computation and Society. His research area is theoretical computer science, specifically computational complexity, cryptography, and differential privacy.



Differential Privacy is framework for enabling the analysis of privacy-sensitive datasets while ensuring that individual-specific information is not revealed.  The concept was developed in a body of work in theoretical computer science starting about a decade ago.   It is now flourishing as an area of research, with deep connections to many other topics in theory.   At the same time, its potential for addressing pressing privacy problems in a variety of domains has attracted the interest of scholars from many other areas, including statistics, databases, medical informatics, law, social science, computer security and programming languages.


In this talk, I will give a general introduction to differential privacy, and discuss some of the theoretical and practical challenges for future work in this area.  I will also describe a large, multidisciplinary research project at Harvard, called “Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data,” in which we are working on some of these challenges as well as others associated with the collection, analysis, and sharing of personal data for research in social science and other fields.

The talk will be held in Room 110 at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA.
It will also be webcast; you can register here.

NSF Neural and Cognitive Systems Deadline Approaching

January 7th, 2015

cyborg brain

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released a new multi-directorate program called Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems (NSF-NCS), which describes the first phase of NSF’s broader aim to foster innovation in cognitive science and neuroscience as part of the President’s BRAIN Initiative. NSF-NCS will support transformative and integrative research that will accelerate understanding of neural and cognitive systems.

In December, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) held a related workshop titled Research Interfaces between Brain Science and Computer Science. Over 70 computer scientists and neuroscientists from academia, industry, and government were in attendance and between 160-300 participants viewed each panel and plenary on the live-stream. All panels and plenary talks from the workshop were recorded and have been posted on the workshop website.

From the NSF-NCS solicitation:

For FY 2015, this competition is organized around two research themes: Neuroengineering and Brain-Inspired Concepts and Designs and Individuality and Variation. Within each theme, general advances in theory and methods, technological innovations, educational approaches, enabling research infrastructure, and workforce development are all of significant interest. Competitive proposals must be consistent with the missions of the participating directorates. Potentially groundbreaking approaches that entail significant risk are encouraged.


Two classes of proposals will be considered in FY 2015. INTEGRATIVE FOUNDATIONS awards will support projects that develop foundational advances that are deeply connected to a broad scope of important research questions in cognitive and neural systems, and have significant potential for transformative advances in one or more of the FY 2015 thematic areas. CORE+ EXTENSIONS will provide additional support to projects selected for funding by other programs in the participating offices and directorates, to enable additional activities that will connect those projects to significant new integrative opportunities in cognitive and neural systems.

The NSF-NCS program deadline is Monday, January 26. 

For more information about NSF-NCS see the program website.


NSF/Intel Partnership on Visual and Experiential Computing (VEC) Program Webinar

December 12th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 2.52.50 PM

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Computer Science and Engineering (CISE) in partnership with Intel announced a joint funding opportunity called Visual and Experiential Computing (VEC), aimed at fostering novel, transformative, and multidisciplinary approaches that promote research in VEC technologies.

The advancement of sensing technology, multi-camera and light field imaging systems, networks of sensors, advanced visual analytics and cloud computing will challenge the longstanding paradigms of capturing, creating, analyzing and utilizing visual information. Advances in VEC will enable capability, adaptability, scalability, and usability that will far exceed the simple information systems of today. VEC technology will transform the way people interact with visual information through, for example, the realization of new mobile and wearable devices and the emergence of autonomous machines and semantically aware spaces. VEC research will drive innovation and competition in many industrial sectors as well as enhance the quality of life for ordinary people.

If you are interested in this topic and are considering applying, CISE is hosting a webinar from 2:00pm to 3:00pm EST on Tuesday, December 16, 2014. It will cover the objectives of the VEC program, award types, and submission requirements. The webinar will conclude with a question and answer session.

Please register at here by 11:59pm EST on Monday, December 15, 2014.

For more information about this webinar, click here.

Please see the program solicitation for more information about VEC.