The University of Kentucky’s Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments invites applications from outstanding individuals to serve as Director of the Center. Candidates having an exceptional record of research productivity and who have a demonstrated ability to lead an interdisciplinary unit are encouraged to apply. External applicants will be considered for a tenured faculty position at the associate to full professor level, with the departmental affiliation dependent on the candidate.
Candidates with expertise in any area related to visualization, including but not limited to machine vision, medical imaging, and pattern recognition, will be considered. Successful candidates will have: 1) a clear vision for advancing the Center; 2) experience leading large collaborative proposals; 3) experience managing large and complex budgets; 4) experience with supervising staff; 5) a willingness to work with a wide range of internal and external constituencies; and 6) a commitment to advancing diversity among faculty, staff, and students.
UK offers strong collegial collaboration, with on campus proximity to the Colleges of Architecture, Arts & Sciences, Business and Economics, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Medicine, and Pharmacy, and to the UK Hospital. A competitive salary and start-up package will be available, as well as access to excellent core research facilities.
Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Applicants should apply for position SM545908 on-line at http://ukjobs.uky.edu. Submit PDF files consisting of a letter of interest, complete curriculum vitae, statement of research goals, vision statement for the Center, and contact information for three professional references. Please visit www.vis.uky.edu for more information about the Center.
The University of Kentucky is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
Filming a documentary can take you anywhere, from an interview at a researcher’s desk to the wide-open American West. Seth Parker and Ben Corwin, both part of the Vis Center’s Media for Research team, always count on an adventure when on a shoot. While adventures can be exciting, they can also be challenging. During the summer of 2012 Seth and Ben journeyed to Flathead Lake in Montana and the Hancock Biological Station in Kentucky to document the VOEIS project. The trip to Montana got off to a rocky start. On the first day, with rain pouring and a tight schedule to keep, the crew worried about having time to finish their shoots. Feeling discouraged, Seth and Ben decided to dine at a restaurant while waiting for the rain’s end. As they headed out after dinner, their luck turned; the whole sky was beautiful. The early evening light was perfect for shooting beauty shots of Glacier National Park during the ‘golden hour.’ Ben said, “It was amazing watching the sunset, getting those images. From there, it just felt like a turning point.”
However, the media crew still faced some difficulties. When filming outside, a video crew needs to consider more factors. At Kentucky Lake, heat and humidity can cause the camera equipment to overheat. Rain can destroy camera equipment. Even wind can cause issues if the microphones pick up the sound of the wind blowing. Still, a storyteller’s concern dominates: how do you boil down three years of research into a short video? As the primary interviewer, Seth worried about asking the right questions and choosing the right focus for the piece.
Seth and Ben documented the project’s progress over the past year. VOEIS is a collaborative project between universities in Montana and in Kentucky. Researchers deployed a network of sensors to monitor water quality in Flathead Lake and in the lake at Hancock Biological Station. These sensors collect data points every few minutes, so the hydrological researchers need a way to navigate the vast data. The VOEIS system is designed to ease the management of large amounts of ecological data. For more information about the VOEIS project, visit http://voeis.org. Seth said, “The videos’ purpose is to lay out the whole VOEIS platform, from how researchers acquire data in the field, transmit that data from the field to a storage location, how they organize and edit that data so it is actually usable, and then how they use that data all in one seamless workflow.”
Ben compares their video to an advertisement for the VOEIS project. He says, “it’s important to be able to promote the projects you are working on in some way, and I think the video medium is a really good way to do that. Being able to just upload a video to YouTube and then distribute it allows you to get support and bring awareness to the project.” Ben enjoyed connecting with nature while filming the video. Montana is known for its beautiful landscapes; for example, the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Park is considered one of the most scenic drives in America. Seth appreciated learning about the project and meeting the various researchers during video interviews. He attended the third annual VOEIS meeting. He admired the researchers’ passion and their different approaches to solving a common problem. Seth said, “In Montana and in Kentucky, you have researchers who are dealing with similar issues. You are dealing with bodies of water that have relatively common data points that need to be tracked. It is always interesting to see how different people go about similar problems in different ways.”
Seth and Ben saw firsthand how all research projects need technology now. Our advanced technology helps and hurts us; we have more information than ever before for research, but now we need a way to organize it so it is usable. Seth said, “The technology is getting to be such that researchers can’t do it alone any more. They need infrastructure, they need ways to organize, and they can’t be expected to create their own systems anymore.” Not only do researchers need to collaborate outside their disciplines to conduct their research, but also they need to work with media to communicate the importance of their research. The Media for Research team helps spread the word about the VOEIS project. As Seth said, “Research is creating new technologies, new ways of thinking, and new everything. But it needs to be conveyed to the general public.”
Vis Center faculty member Dr. Brent Seales is currently on sabbatical working at Google’s Cultural Institute. He is providing us with a first hand account of the development of Google’s new on-line exhibits of important historical events.
Dr. Seales’ update from Paris, France:
The Google Cultural Institute went live recently with a set of digital exhibits under the theme of “The Fall of the Iron Curtain.”
Why now? The 23rd anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall on November 9, 1989 was recently celebrated. Google’s official blog explains more:
The tight cycle between last month’s launch of 42 new exhibits – over a completely new technical platform supporting a user experience within a web browser – and this week’s launch made for an exciting month of intense work for the engineering team. Beyond launching the themed content in many different languages, the team implemented a channel construct to group exhibits by theme. Sounds simple and looks/feels absolutely right for the user. Turns out to be a lot of work on the engineering side to settle some long-term issues now so that the collections can scale up over the next months.
My position as visiting scientist with the Cultural Institute gives me a great view of the process and helps me plan for how research ideas might fit into the development cycles into 2013 and beyond. Some questions I and others have been asking: how can the user experience be made more and more compelling? What kind of tools can be developed that might deliver new information from such a large corpus of information? Can the process of becoming a partner, adding content, and building exhibits be democratized and scaled up to become available to everyone and anyone? How can more content be freed to become available for search, exploration, and involvement in story-telling?
I know from experience that there are many fears about releasing content freely and openly. Yet the stories that many digital assets can portray are powerful and deserve to be heard. The tearing down of the Berlin Wall twenty three years ago today was an unexpected and miraculous event that opened up a new era of freedom in Germany and Eastern Europe. It reminds me today of the technical walls that are coming down – barriers of time and space that are lessened through technology, and historical barriers set up around releasing content for study, reflection, enjoyment – for the human experience.