Presentation Ben Simons, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

B. Simons, UTS

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) opened the UTS Data Arena in July 2015. The Data Arena is an interactive 3D-Stereo Data Science Theatre, which runs EVL’s Omegalib. The Data Arena Theatre is similar to EVL’s CAVE2. The cylindrical display is 4 meters high, and 10 meters in diameter, driven by six ceiling-mounted video projectors, edge blended to produce a seamless 20K stereoscopic display. Viewers stand in the middle, wearing active shutter glasses, surrounded by a 16-channel audio, and a 12-camera motion capture system. Various data pipelines are in development, including one which uses Houdini (typically used in Feature Film VFX) to generate 3D geometry based on input channel data. This presentation will include some recent visualization work, describe the Data Arena development, and show how Houdini is being used for visualization.

Ben Simons is the Technical Director of the UTS Data Arena, an Interactive Data Science Theatre which opened in July 2015 at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Ben has worked in various forms of computer graphics for more than 25 years, gaining international awards, prizes, and patents. His software developments range from real-time image processing systems (CSIRO NSW-RTA Safe-T-Cam), to 10 years scientific visualization at Sydney University, to 3D-Stereo Virtual Reality Systems that explored the Sydney Harbor Sonar Data (VisLab ATP), to the creation of Visual Effects for 15 Feature Films, which include Happy Feet 2, Resident Evil Extinction, Fast & Furious, and Taking Woodstock.

As 3D FX Supervisor for Dr D Studios in Sydney, Ben built a department of 63 Visual FX Artists & Graphics Pipeline Engineers to complete Happy Feet 2 in 3D Stereo for Warner Bros in 2012.

In the 7 years prior to Dr D, Ben worked in Toronto, Canada, in technical computer graphics roles for MrX Inc, and for C.O.R.E. Feature Animation (Disney’s The Wild). Roles include R&D Software Development, Head of Systems, Head of VFX, and Senior Technical Supervision of Feature Film.

For 10 years Ben managed Sydney VisLab at the University of Sydney, a center for scientific visualization. In 1996, a computing cluster he configured won the IEEE Gordon Bell Prize for High Performance Computing (Price/Performance Category).

Ben holds First Class Honours in Computer Science from The University of Sydney, and obtained 4 patents while at CSIRO. In 1996 his group was awarded the QANTAS Rolls Royce Award for Engineering Excellence for the Safe-T-Cam traffic camera. He developed the real-time-video vehicle recognition/tracking software and designed the infra-red flash trigger hardware.

Ben Simons is a Visual Effects Supervisor accredited by the Australian Academy of Cinematic & Television Arts (AACTA), a member of the IEEE and the ACM Computer Society, is and has served on the board of the Visual Effects Society (VES Australia).


Date: November 4, 2015

No Related Entries

Related Categories