Over the past decade, EVL has developed an aggressive program to partner with dozens of computational scientists and engineers nationwide to create visualization and virtual reality applications for collaborative exploration of scientific and engineering data over national and global high-speed networks. This effort is called “tele-immersion”.
Tele-immersion is defined as collaborative virtual reality over networks, an extension of the “human / computer interaction” paradigm to “human / computer / human collaboration,” with the computer providing real-time data in shared, collaborative environments, to enable computational science and engineering researchers to interact with each other (the “tele-conferencing” paradigm) as well as their computational models, over distance. Current tele-immersion research focuses on providing easy access to integrated heterogeneous distributed computing environments, whether supercomputers, remote instrumentation, networks, or mass storage devices using advanced real-time 3D immersive interfaces.
CAVERNsoft G2, a C++ toolkit for building collaborative networked applications or logistical networking applications has been developed to support EVL’s tele-immersion research. It has low- and mid-level networking classes to support general collaborative application building, and it has higher-level modules to specifically support tele-immersion (or collaborative virtual reality). Refinements and enhancements to the CAVERNsoft G2 toolset are ongoing.
EVL’s goal is to move tele-immersion from the laboratory to the Next Generation Internet. Scientists are now learning how to take advantage of global connectivity to empower collaborative solutions to complex problems. Through advanced networking techniques, researchers can access distributed computing, storage and display resources more efficiently than ever. EVL will continue to work toward achieving these goals on a global scale.