New Awards for October

Publish Date: 11/11/2009

Congratulations to CS Faculty members who have received new research funding in the month of October! CS faculty members received awards as principle investigators and as collaborative partners from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Institute for Allergy and Infection Disease.

Doug Bowman has been awarded funding through the Office of Naval Research on a collaborative proposal with the University of California, Santa Barbara titled “Evaluating The Effects of Immersion on Naval Training Applications”.

Military training has been one of the most successful applications of virtual reality (VR) technologies. VR systems provide a realistic first-person view of a synthetic world, and allow trainees to interact directly with that world, making them useful for training motor skills, decision-making, and navigation. However, there are a wide range of VR technologies, and very little is known about which technologies provide the most benefit for various military training scenarios. We propose to characterize both augmented reality (AR) and VR training systems by the level of immersion they provide. Using this concept, we propose a series of empirical studies, based on the most common tasks found in AR/VR training systems, to determine the effects of various components of immersion. Since actual AR/VR technologies differ in many ways, we propose to run controlled studies using an AR/VR simulator. In addition to the controlled studies using the simulator approach, we propose to validate our results using actual AR/VR technologies. All of this data will allow us to deliver a set of guidelines and recommendations to the Navy regarding the required and desirable levels of immersion for military training systems.

Yong Cao and Francis Quek have been awarded funding through the National Science Foundation for a proposal titled Creative IT: Hyper Drama Storytelling: Engaging and Nurturing Creativity in K-12 Students”

This research explores the concept of grounded imagination where creativity is grounded in knowledge and informed by experience. How might one nurture and cultivate such grounded imagination in K-12 students? To address this question, this project will develop and deploy a storytelling system for authoring and interacting with hyper-dramas. It incorporates the theory advanced by Lev Vygotsky, that creativity involves a process of combinatory imagination by which an individual creates new things for herself from elements of prior experience encoded in everyday concepts and new culturally transmitted information. This situates creativity within two developmental streams: intellectual development (acquiring grounding in the form of knowledge and experience), and the process of flexible re-combination. The aspect of social-cultural engagement suggests that creativity is a discourse with the larger culture and society. Drawing from this theoretical foundation, this project explores whether the creativity trough (decline in creativity from the 4th grade through middle school) may occur because social-cultural awareness precedes intellectual development so that the student judges herself an inadequate contributor. Facilitating hyper-drama authoring will allow students to draw on their experience in hyper-media and dramatic presentation, and thus nurture the combinatory creativity process.

Joseph Gabbard and Deborah Hix have received funding as co-investigators on an interdepartmental proposal with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute titled “PathoSystems Bioinformatics Resource Center”.

The proposal was awarded to the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The $27M award is the single largest award Virginia Tech has received to date and is a 5-year contract to the CyberInfrastructure Group (CIG) of VBI to support the biomedical research community’s work on infectious diseases. The funding will be used to integrate vital information on pathogens, provide key resources and tools to scientists, and help researchers to analyze genomic, proteomic and other data arising from infectious disease research. Gabbard and Hix will be contributing research under the portion of the proposal that focuses on “human computer interaction (HCI), usability engineering and visualization.”

Scott McCrickard has been awarded an extension to an ongoing NSF proposal titled Collaborative Research: BPC-AE:   The Alliance for the Advancement of African American Researchers in Computing (A4RC)”

A4RC aims to increase the number of African-Americans obtaining advanced degrees in computing, particularly at the Ph.D. level. A4RC establishes and develops student pipelines from HBCUs to universities offering advanced degrees in Computing. With this extension, A4RC plans to expand the alliance to include a greater number of HBCU/R1 research collaborations, and to build new partnerships. A new category of partners -- Affiliate Partners -- will engage additional HBCUs and national labs and A4RC will become formal partners with the very effective BPC Demonstration Project, African-American Researchers in Computing Sciences (AARCS). A4RC will build collaborations with the BPC STARS and Empowering Leadership Alliances, and ADMI: The Symposium on Computing at Minority Institutions.

Adrian Sandu has received funding through the National Science Foundation for a new award titled Collaborative Research: A Multiscale Unified Simulation Environment for Geoscientific Applications”.

The goal of our interdisciplinary effort between computational scientists, physicists, engineers and applied mathematicians is to build an all scales unified simulation system that can exploit the next generation of petascale systems and beyond. The advances proposed herein hold the potential of greatly enhancing possible breakthroughs in various research disciplines involved with continuum mechanics. Specifically, the novelties will include: high-order discontinuous Galerkin methods with simultaneous adaptive h-p unstructured non-conforming meshes, multi-step methods for time integration including multirate, implicit-explicit (IMEX), strong-stability preserving (SSP), exponential integrators, Parareal time-integration, adjoint-based error estimates, and new optimal iterative solvers. These ideas will ultimately be targeted for use on a deep atmosphere and ocean model.