Press Archive

SDSC Showcases Advances in the Virtual Reality Modeling Language in Three Events

Published 12/13/1995

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) a leader in research and development related to the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML)organized and is hosting VRML '95, the First Annual Symposium on the Virtual Reality Modeling Language. This symposium starts today and runs through Friday. VRML has become the standard for describing three-dimensional (3-D) environments on the World Wide Web. VRML 95 will discuss the future of the VRML standard and general technical issues relating to Web-based browsing of 3-D data. This symposium expects nearly 300 attendees from across the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

The keynote address tomorrow at 8:30 a.m., presented by Steve Bryson, NASA, is titled "Real-time Collaborative Scientific Visualization: Can VRML Meet the Challenge?" In addition, the symposium will feature invited presentations from Gavin Bell, Silicon Graphics, Inc.; John Hughes, Brown University; Michael Deering, Sun Microsystems, Inc.; and Mark Pesce. The program includes a large number of peer-reviewed technical presentations, roundtable discussions, and a vendor exhibition. SDSC's researchers' work will be featured in "Web-based Volumetric Data Retrieval" by T.T. Elvins and R. Jain, "Creating VRML Extensions to Support Vector Field Visualization" by R. Ginis and D. Nadeau, "VRBS: A Behavior Language Protocol for VRML" by Nadeau and J. Moreland, and "VRBS: Using Perl as a Behavior Language for VRML" by Moreland and Nadeau. A complete schedule of events is available on the Web at

The SDSC researchers that are leading this VRML effort will participate in a book signing event at the UCSD Price Center Bookstore on Friday, December 15 at 5:00 p.m. Andrea L. Ames, David R. Nadeau, and John L. Moreland will discuss VRML technology and sign copies of their book, The VRML Sourcebook, just published by John Wiley & Sons.

SDSC's VRML technology was also demonstrated in the CAVE immersive virtual reality environment at the SUPERCOMPUTING '95 conference held last week in San Diego. This demonstration showcased the San Diego Bay project, which is developing the necessary software tools to help public policy makers monitor and regulate the commercial and recreational uses of the bay. The demonstration was based on SDSC WebView, a VRML browser developed at SDSC. WebView is one of the first VRML browsers to implement behaviors, thereby enabling objects to respond to user inputs. The San Diego Bay project is a collaboration among SDSC, the San Diego Bay Interagency Water Quality Panel, and some 30 organizations collecting data in the field about the ecology of the bay (for more information, see

The CAVE is a three-sided immersive environment designed to help researchers understand more about their scientific data by literally being surrounded by it. The demonstration started with a fly-over of the bay, accompanied by the sound of the surf, then an audio-visual dive through the water's surface and a swim along the floor of the bay. This experience is based on bathymetry and water quality data gathered by the U.S. Navy that have been integrated with a digital elevation model provided by the San Diego Association of Governments. The demonstration also allowed the viewers to visualize different types of data being collected, including water temperatures, sediment chemistry, and the concentration of eelgrass.

SDSC has also created and is maintaining the VRML Repository, which contains the latest information and software related to VRML. This repository can be accessed at

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.

For more information, contact:
Ann Redelfs
619-534-5113 (FAX)