Press Archive

SDSC, JPL, and Cray Research Create Unusual Videotape Fly-over of Southern California as Part of Welcoming Remarks at SUPERCOMPUTING '95

Published 12/06/1995

SAN DIEGO, CA. December 5, 1995 -- Experience the delight of "flying over" southern California. Start by traveling down the coast from Los Angeles and gain a bird's eye view of Catalina Island and the Salton Sea, then finish with a fly-through of downtown San Diego and arrival at the San Diego Convention Center in time for the eighth annual SUPERCOMPUTING conference, SUPERCOMPUTING '95. Attendees at this conference held here this week were treated to this unusual five-minute video experience during the welcoming remarks prior to the keynote address on Tuesday, December 5 at 10:30 a.m. This video production was designed to be the signature piece of the SUPERCOMPUTING '95 show.

This projectthe brainchild of Sid Karin, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), and Carl Kukkonen, Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Center for Space Microelectronics Technologyinvolved the participation of SDSC, JPL, and Cray Research, Inc. JPL rendered satellite data of the coastal and inland areas from Los Angeles to San Diego, colorized it, then registered this data against a digital elevation map to create the appearance of three-dimensional topography. Cray rendered the fly-through of downtown San Diego to the convention center. Both JPL and Cray did their rendering on CRAY T3D supercomputers. SDSC animated and rendered the final flag-waving scene and did the postproduction work, including editing the images together, composing original music, and adding production credits. In addition, a student at the University of Illinois, Chicago, assisted this project by rendering the SC'95 logo animation scene that appears at the beginning of the video.

Each data point from the JPL data sets equates to 30 meters. The three organizations are collaborating during the SUPERCOMPUTING '95 show to create an interactive fly-over based on the same data and more high-resolution data. The interactive flight can be experienced in Cray's booth (#300) and will be run on Cray supercomputers at JPL in Pasadena, about 150 miles from the San Diego Convention Center where the show is being held. SDSC, JPL, and Cray plan to use the CASA high-speed gigabit network to access the Cray supercomputers at JPL to run the interactive flight.

These organizations hope to collaborate on a more finely detailed production based on higher-resolution data and a more sophisticated merging of the satellite data with data describing downtown San Diego.

For more information and to obtain a copy of the videotape, contact the SDSC consultants at or 619-534-5100.

SDSC, a national laboratory for computational science and engineering, is sponsored by NSF, other federal agencies, the State and University of California, and private organizations; is affiliated with the University of California, San Diego; and is administered by General Atomics. For more information, see or contact Ann Redelfs, SDSC,, 619-534-5032.

Cray Research provides the leading high-performance computational tools and services to help solve customers' most challenging problems.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is managed by the California Institute of Technology for NASA.

For more information, contact:

Ann Redelfs SDSC 619-534-5032 619-534-5113 (FAX)

Mardi Larson Cray Research, Inc. 612-683-3538

James J. Doyle Jet Propulsion Laboratory 818-354-0474