Perspectives from the SC Perennials

June 6th, 2018

Categories: Supercomputing

Perennials gather for a group photo at SC18. (Maxine Brown is on the right.)
Perennials gather for a group photo at SC18. (Maxine Brown is on the right.)


JUNE 6, 2018 - Maxine Brown, Director of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) in the department of Computer Science at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), is a “Perennial” - the name given to individuals who have had perfect attendance in the 30-year history of the IEEE/ACM Supercomputing (SC) professional conference. One of 17 people with this distinction, Brown is profiled with the other Perennials in the latest SC Blog, titled “30 Years - and the Journey Continues: Perspectives from the SC Perennials.”

Though this year marks the official 30th anniversary of the SC conference, 2018 actually marks the Perennials’ 31st consecutive attendance. The first conference was held in 1988 in Orlando, Florida, with fewer than 1,500 attendees, while this year’s event in Dallas, Texas, is expected to attract 11,000 international participants. Over the years, the conference has also broadened its scope, from being supercomputer-centric to being about high-performance computing, networking, storage and analysis.

In 1988, Brown had been at UIC for two years and was EVL’s Associate Director. She had approached the chair of this fledgling conference to propose they hold a Visualization Theater, showcasing films and videos from researchers who used computer graphics to visualize complex data from supercomputers and instruments; and, when the chair enthusiastically agreed, she organized and hosted it. EVL also had a research booth with collaborator Ellen Sandor of (Art)n Laboratory to display “phscolograms” (auto-stereo 3D images) of scientific and mathematical images, in order to meet potential collaborators.

As Brown mentions in the SC Blog article, her fondest memory of early SC conferences was attendee enthusiasm for the CAVE™ Virtual Reality Theater, which was invented by EVL and premiered at a different conference in the summer of 1992. SC folks saw it, and requested EVL bring it to SC92 in Minneapolis, and then again to SC93 in Portland - and again to SC95 in San Diego!

Brown, and EVL, continue to be active in SC conferences, participating in the large research exhibition, most recently demonstrating the lab’s SAGE2 collaboration software (a joint project of UIC and University of Hawaii at Manoa), and holding SAGE2 Birds-of-a-Feather sessions to meet with its global user community.

Read the SC Blog article.