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UT-DIISC Holds Their Inaugural Conference, the International Workshop on Interactive & Spatial Computing (IWISC 2015)

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The newly established University of Texas at Dallas Institute on Interactive and Spatial Computing (UT-DIISC) held its first International Workshop on Interactive and Spatial Computing (IWISC 2015). The workshop was held in Dallas, TX, over the first weekend in December. IWISC is an international workshop where academics, international researchers, and industry specialists meet and share their ideas within the fields of interactive and spatial computing.

For both days of the inaugural workshop, approximately sixty experts in the fields of interactive and spatial computing were in attendance. The inaugural workshop drew in attendees from Universities and Research Institutes including UT Dallas Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, and ATEC (Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication) departments, University of Guanajuato, Mexico, University of North Texas (UNT), University of Texas Southwester Medical Center (UTSW), Texas A&M University, College Station, the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

UT-DIISC was established at UT Dallas in Fall 2015 with members from academia, industry, and international research institutions. The founding members include UT Dallas Computer Science faculty members, Drs. Balakrishnan Prabhakaran (Director of UT-DIISC), Sergey Bereg (Associate Director), Ovidiu Daescu, Ryan McMahan, Haim Schweitzer, Xiaohu Guo, Kang Zhang, and Benjamin Raichel.DSC_0140

The goal of the UT Dallas Institute for Interactive and Spatial Computing (UT-DIISC) is to integrate activities within a broad spectrum of disciplines such as computational geometry, computer graphics, high-dimensional data analysis, human-computer interaction, information visualization, multimedia, and virtual reality. These activities enhance knowledge and human performance through bioinformatics, physically based modeling and simulation, and training and education applications.

The workshop, which was held over a two-day period,  consisted of research demonstrations, poster presentations, keynote speakers, workshops, and presentations. Nearly 15 demos were available for testing, providing workshop attendees with an interactive platform to connect and explore the latest, ongoing research in the fields of interactive and spatial computing.

The first day of IWISC2015 involved a combined poster and interactive demo session followed by dinner where attendees heard from the invited keynote speaker, Jack S. Snoeyink, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director, and Professor in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Dr. Snoeyink keynote talk was titled, “Describing Shape, Space, and Interaction.” His talk focused on how scientists can look at languages used to describe shape, space, and changes to shape and space, and communicate the challenges and the joys of understanding interactive and spatial computing applications well enough to describe them to a computer. He used examples from origami, structural molecular biology, and robotics, to demonstrate his point.

DSC_0219The second day of IWISC2015 consisted of not only poster presentations, but also demonstration sessions of current research projects, coupled with invited oral presentations of technical papers. The poster presentations afforded workshop attendees the opportunity for direct interaction with academics, researchers, and industry personnel.

The first half of the day was dedicated to research being done within the realm of Interactive Computing. Dr. Ryan McMahan, a UT Dallas CS and ATEC professor, director of the Future Immersive Virtual Environments (FIVE) Lab, founding member of UT-DIISC, and Virtual Reality specialist, and Dr. Eric Ragan, a Texas A&M University professor in the Department of Visualization, began with a presentation on their current work being done in interactive computing research.

Following Drs. McMahan and Ragan were presentations on research within Robotics and Computer Vision. Visiting professors and researchers from the University De Guanajuato in Guanajuato, Mexico, Drs. Raúl Enrique Sánchez Yañez, and Victor Ayala Ramírez, both delivered talks on their research. Dr. Sánchez Yañez delivered a talk titled “Experiments on Image Enhancement for Night-Vision and Surveillance” and Dr.  Ramírez delivered a talk titled “An Evolutionary Computing Framework to Solve Engineering Problems.”

The second part of the day consisted of presentations and talks about research within Computational Geometry. Founding UT-DIISC members and UT Dallas CS Professors, Drs. Benjamin Raichel and Sergey Bereg, delivered opening talks for the section of the workshop centered on Computational Geometry presentations. Dr. Benjamin Raichel delivered his talk titled “Approximating the Convex Hull in High Dimensions.” In Dr. Raichel’s talk, Dr. Raichel discussed the problem of approximating the convex hull in high dimensions. The basis of Dr. Raichel’s talk drew on work done in the recent paper, “Sparse Approximation via Generating Point Sets” by Drs. Benjamin Raichel, Avrim Blum, and Sariel Har-Peled.

In Dr. Sergey Bereg’s talk titled “Computational Geometry and Combinatorial Geometry,” he highlighted several aspects of Computational Geometry. Dr. Bereg explained by saying, ”Computational Geometry is an essential component of the University of Texas Dallas Institute for Interactive and Spatial Computing (UT-DIISC). Geometry and, more specifically, Combinatorial Geometry, play a fundamental role in the design of efficient algorithms in computational geometry. During my talk, I explored partition techniques used in efficient data structures and algorithms, for example, in range searching.”

DSC_0125Professors from the Department of Radiation Oncology at University of Texas Southwester Medical Center (UTSW), Drs. Jing Wang, Weihua Mao, and Xun Jia presented their research within “High Performance Computing Problems in Medical Physics and Radiation Therapy.” Dr. Jing Wang’s talk, “Four-dimensional Cone-Beam Computed Tomography Reconstruction with Multi-Organ Mesh Model for Image-Guided and Adaptive Radiation Therapy,” discussed recent efforts on the development of a multi-organ mesh model to improve the computation efficiency and motion estimation accuracy of simultaneous motion estimation and image reconstruction (SMEIR) for four-dimensional, cone-beamed computed tomography (CBTCT). Dr. Weihua Mao delivered his talk titled, “3D-2D Deformable Image Registration Using Feature-Based Non-uniform Meshes.” During Dr. Mao’s talk, he explained that by using prior information of planning CT images and feature-based non-uniform meshes, his talk would demonstrate that volumetric images could be efficiently registered with a very small portion of 2D projection images of a CBCT scan. Dr. Xun Jia talk, “Table-Top High-Performance Computing for Medical Physics in Radiotherapy,” gave workshop attendees an introduction to medical physics in radiation oncology followed by a presentation of research topics currently being conducted within his group, including GPU-based 3D/4D CBCT reconstruction, treatment plan optimization, and Monte Carlo simulation for radiation transport.

DSC_0090The day ended with a presentation of talks concerning research being done within Spatial Grammar and Visualization. UT Dallas CS professor and Director of Visual Computing Lab, Dr. Kang Zhang, presented an introduction to spatial graph grammars, their application potentials, and current information vis
ualization projects conducted at UT Dallas Visual Computing Lab. Delivering the final talk was Dr. Yi-Zhong Wang, research scientist and Director of the Macular Function Lab at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest (RFSW). His talk titled, “Segmentation, Visualization, and Analysis of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Images for Assessment and Management of Retinal Diseases,” presented an overview of OCT and its application in the field of retinal diseases, with the focus on the current approaches of OCT image segmentation and visualization, as well as potential challenges

“The plan for UT-DIISC is to carry out joint research projects, by working on larger, inter-disciplinary problems, and secure federal funding for those projects, and to host another annual workshop for sharing research results from various projects,” states Dr. Balakrishnan Prabhakaran, Director of UT-DIISC. Dr. Prabhakaran continues, “All IWISC attendees, including the University of Guanajuato, UTSW, UNT, Texas A&M, and the Retina Foundation, have already requested to be a partner with UT-DIISC. Many of them are already working with institute faculty members.”

Click here to visit the UT-DIISC Homepage.


 

Three of the founding members of UT-Diisc. From the left: Dr. Ovidiu Daescu, Dr. Balakrishnan Prabhakaran, and Dr. Ryan McMahan.
Three of the founding members of UT-Diisc. From the left: Dr. Ovidiu Daescu, Dr. Balakrishnan Prabhakaran, and Dr. Ryan McMahan.
Dr. Xiaohu Guo, founding member of UT-DIISC (Left), talking with Drs. Raúl Enrique Sánchez Yañez, and Victor Ayala Ramirez from the University De Guanajuato, and Dr. B. Prabhakaran, a founding member of UT-DIISC.
(From the left) Dr. Xiaohu Guo, founding member of UT-DIISC, talking with Drs. Raúl Enrique Sánchez Yañez, and Victor Ayala Ramirez from the University De Guanajuato, and Dr. B. Prabhakaran, a founding member of UT-DIISC.
From the left: Dr. Benjamin Rachiel, founding UT-DIISC member and UT Dallas CS professor, and Keynote Speaker, Jack S. Snoeyink, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director.
From the left: Dr. Benjamin Rachiel, founding UT-DIISC member and UT Dallas CS professor, and Keynote Speaker, Jack S. Snoeyink, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director.
Dean of the Erik Jonsson School, Dr. Mark Spong.
Dean of the Erik Jonsson School, Dr. Mark Spong.
Dr. Gopal Gupta, UT Dallas Computer Science department head.
Dr. Gopal Gupta, UT Dallas Computer Science department head.
Dr. Balakrishnan Prabhakaran , Director of UT-DIISC.
Dr. Balakrishnan Prabhakaran , Director of UT-DIISC.
From the left: Dr. Jack S. Snoeyink, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director, and keynote speaker, standing next to Dr. Ovidiu Daescu, UT-DIISC founding member and UT Dallas CS professor.
From the left: Dr. Jack S. Snoeyink, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director, and keynote speaker, standing next to Dr. Ovidiu Daescu, UT-DIISC founding member and UT Dallas CS professor.
Invited keynote speaker, Dr. Jack S. Snoeyink, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director,
Invited keynote speaker, Dr. Jack S. Snoeyink, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director,
Dr. Jack S. Snoeyink using origami with attendees to explain points in his talk.
Dr. Jack S. Snoeyink using origami with attendees to explain points in his talk.
Dr. Sergey Bereg, Associate Director of UT-DIISC, founding member, and UT Dallas CS professor.
Dr. Sergey Bereg, Associate Director of UT-DIISC, founding member, and UT Dallas CS professor.

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Click here to view additional photos from the event.


 About the UT Dallas Computer Science Department

The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 1,600 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,100 master’s students, 160 PhD students, and 80 faculty members, as of Fall 2015. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.

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