Darkstrand and the University of Illinois at Chicago Join Forces for Global Business Competitiveness

Participants: EVL research staff, students and faculty; Darkstrand

Chicago, IL

Cutting Edge Electronic Visualization Laboratory Joins Darkstrand Network, Enabling Corporate Access to Advanced Visualization and Networking Technologies

CHICAGO, IL - July 16, 2009 - Darkstrand, a pioneer in corporate high-speed connectivity bridging research and commercialization, today announced a collaborative agreement with the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). UIC’s EVL is a leading laboratory developing next-generation, networked visualization and collaboration hardware and software technologies. Corporations connected anywhere on the Darkstrand Network can now leverage these technologies and the lab’s systems to facilitate real-time collaboration among distant colleagues as well as access to remote data.

Through advanced networking, academic and corporate researchers can access distributed computing, storage and display resources more efficiently than ever. Innovative companies like Sharp Laboratories of America look to EVL to learn about future uses of displays and networking in evolving technological and sociological collaboration solutions. Powerful visualization technologies, developed by EVL researchers, enable users to share and view multi-gigabyte visualization data objects over high-speed networks as easily as the Internet provides access to lower-resolution images today, enabling true collaboration across the value chain, improving speed to market and dramatically lowering collaboration costs. EVL has partnered with Darkstrand to work toward achieving these goals on a larger scale.

“It is EVL’s mission to expose its students to technologies and concepts that are at least five years ahead of the curve and to apply what they learn to real-world scientific and engineering problems by working with researchers in those disciplines. This methodology enables our students to better develop useful and usable technologies for the research community and to teach corporate entities how to capitalize upon and translate our technical expertise into a competitive edge,” said Jason Leigh, EVL director and associate professor of computer science at UIC. “We partner with forward-thinking companies such as Darkstrand to help bridge the gap between academia and the business sector, and to work with corporations to speed the adoption of new technologies in the workplace.”

Darkstrand’s agreement with UIC is the latest in the series of alliances between the company and a select group of university research entities that already use the National LambdaRail national fiber optic network. These include Calit2 at University of California, San Diego; New Mexico Computing Applications Center; and most recently Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.

“Corporations are starting to see how access to a community of leading university-based research experts and supercomputing resources can translate to a strong competitive edge. Darkstrand is the first company of its kind to bridge corporate America and academia, offering research facility access and enabling partnerships in custom research projects,” said Michael Stein, CEO, Darkstrand. “For example, through Darkstrand and joint efforts with EVL, a major media company could create content, collapse pipeline production times, and link production and post-production communities into one network. Access to these tools ultimately brings a new R&D and collaboration model to corporate America, in which bandwidth is no longer a constraint on innovation.”

Researchers at EVL can now more effectively teach American businesses focused on product design and manufacturing, bioscience, financial services or entertainment media how to take advantage of tens of gigabits of bandwidth at sustained rates to achieve real-time, multi-point, high-resolution image-streaming sessions. Users with large-scale visualization displays connected to ultra-high capacity wide-area networks can employ EVL’s specialized software to access and share one or more high-resolution images and animations as well as conduct HD video teleconferences with collaborators worldwide, thereby gaining a competitive edge in developing better products, new medicines, and ultra-high-resolution entertainment.

In addition to working directly with corporate clients, EVL technologies have been deployed to universities, supercomputer centers, science museums and corporate research laboratories worldwide. Those early adopters also work with corporate research clients to adapt and apply EVL technologies to their workflow as they tackle unique application challenges.

The EVL is a joint effort of UIC’s College of Engineering and School of Art & Design, and represents the oldest formal collaboration between engineering and art in the country. EVL’s notable inventions include the CAVE™ virtual reality theater, the low-cost GeoWall passive-stereo display, and, most recently, its tiled LCD display environments managed using SAGE middleware, the Scalable Adaptive Graphics Environment. EVL technologies have been widely used for scientific and medical discovery, art exhibition, and industrial prototyping.

A current Darkstrand advisory board member, Thomas A. DeFanti, is a co-founder of the EVL lab, and has amassed a number of credits, including use of EVL hardware and software for the computer animation produced for the first Star Wars movie.

About Darkstrand
Darkstrand, Inc. leverages enterprise-level network bandwidth to close the collaboration gap between corporations and research communities. Darkstrand is a pivotal corporate partner for solving real workflow, development and collaborative challenges, linking teams, facilities and suppliers into one ecosystem in a high-speed, networked grid environment via the National LambdaRail (NLR), a coast to coast 12,000-route mile optical network spread across 30 U.S. cities. Darkstrand shortens time to insight and expands productivity for companies wanting a competitive edge. Based in Chicago, Illinois, Darkstrand was established in 2005. Please visit Darkstrand’s website for more information on corporate supercomputing access.

About Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago
The Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a graduate research laboratory specializing in the research and development of networked, high-resolution visualization, collaboration and virtual-reality display hardware and software systems, and the design and implementation of international networking infrastructure. It is a joint effort of UIC’s College of Engineering and School of Art and Design, and represents the oldest formal collaboration between engineering and art in the country offering graduate MS, PhD and MFA degrees. EVL has received worldwide recognition for developing the original CAVE™ and ImmersaDesk™ virtual reality systems, and, more recently, the GeoWall low-cost stereo display, the 105-Megapixel LambdaVision tiled display wall and the Varrier autostereoscopic display. EVL is a founding member of StarLight and the Global Lambda Integrated Facility (GLIF), and is a lead institution of the NSF-funded OptIPuter project.

Karen To
Sparkpr for Darkstrand
(415) 321-1890
karen @ sparkpr.com

Laura Wolf
Electronic Visualization Laboratory
University of Illinois at Chicago
(312) 996-3002
laura @ evl.uic.edu

Email: spiff@uic.edu

Date: July 16, 2009

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