News Archive

SDSC Announces the VRML Repository: A World Wide Web Resource for the Virtual Reality Modeling Language

Published 04/18/1995

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) announced today the availability of a repository on the World Wide Web for exchanging information, software, and utilities related to the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), a rapidly emerging industry standard for exchanging three-dimensional data over the Internet.

The repository, located at, provides the Internet community with information about VRML, hyperlinks to VRML documents, and access to VRML-related software. The repository is sponsored by SDSC, Silicon Graphics, Inc., and Template Graphics Systems, Inc.

"VRML represents a giant step forward in using the Internet as a serious tool for exchanging scientific data," says Len Wanger, a scientific programmer who has been involved in defining the VRML standard over the past year. "The ability to use the World Wide Web to easily browse and visualize complex, three-dimensional structures from remote data archives adds an important tool to the scientist's computing environment."

The VRML standard was developed by the Internet community to promote the use of interactive simulations on the World Wide Web. VRML is similar in concept to the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), but it replaces the two-dimensional text-based environment with a virtual environment in which users can display and navigate through three-dimensional data. VRML documents called "virtual worlds" can contain objects with hyperlinks to other VRML worlds or HTML documents. Future standards are planned to allow for animations, motion physics, and real-time multiple-user interaction.

Several major companies are developing VRML browsers that function in a similar manner to standard text-based Web browsers such as Netscape or NCSA Mosaic. One such VRML browser, called "WebSpace," is being developed by Silicon Graphics, Inc., and Template Graphics Systems, Inc., and will be available in May 1995.

"VRML will change the way people view and interact with information on the Internet," says John Moreland, maintainer of the VRML repository at SDSC. "It will bring interactive three-dimensional environments for science, engineering, education, and entertainment to the user's desktop."

Dave Nadeau and John Moreland will co-chair a 1995 VRML Symposium at SDSC on December 13-15. The symposium will feature technical discussions, presentations, and vendor exhibits. A call for participation has been issued, and the deadline for submissions will be announced in May 1995.

SDSC, a national laboratory for computational science and engineering, is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, administered by General Atomics, and affiliated with the University of California, San Diego. For additional information: or contact Ann Redelfs, 619-534-5032,

Contact: Ann Redelfs
SDSC, External Relations
(619) 534-5032
(619) 534-5113 fax