Brown CS News

Laidlaw, van Dam, And Two Brown CS Alums Win An IEEE CG&A Test Of Time Paper Award

Click the links that follow for more news about David Laidlaw, Andy van Dam, and other recent accomplishments by Brown CS faculty and alums.

Every year, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications bestows its Test of Time Award on regular or special issue papers published by the magazine that have made “profound and long-lasting impacts in bridging the theory and practice of computer graphics.” A recently announced winner of the 2021 award is a 1989 paper (“The Application Visualization System: A Computational Environment for Scientific Visualization”) co-authored by  Brown CS Professor David Laidlaw and Thomas J. Watson, Jr. University Professor of Technology and Education and Professor of Computer Science Andy van Dam with two Brown CS alums, Robert Gurwitz (now at EY-Parthenon) and Jeff Vroom (now at RStudio). Their other co-authors included Craig Upson (now at Lightbend), Thomas Faulhaber, Jr. (now at Groundlight), David Kamins (now retired and pursuing musical interests), and David Schlegel (now at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science).

The paper finds its origins in research and development that Andy, David, and their co-authors conducted at a startup, Stellar Computer, in the late 1980s. It describes a software system for developing interactive scientific visualization applications quickly, with a minimum of programming effort. Known as AVS (application visualization system), it was an application framework targeted at scientists and engineers, with a goal of making applications that combine interactive graphics and high computational requirements easier to develop for both programmers and nonprogrammers. AVS was designed around the concept of software building blocks, or modules, which could be interconnected to form visualization applications. It allowed flow networks of existing modules to be constructed using a direct-manipulation user interface, and automatically generated a simple user interface for each module. The startup’s primary product was a graphics supercomputer workstation. One of them is part of the permanent collection on display in Brown’s Thomas J. Watson, Senior Center for Information Technology (the CIT). 

“I never could have imagined this outcome when Andy helped recruit me to a tiny hardware startup right out of Brown,” says David. “This award is an honor, and I really appreciate it.”

David’s research centers around applications of visualization, computational modeling, computer graphics, and computer science to other scientific disciplines. His particular interests include visualization of multivalued multidimensional imaging data, comparisons of virtual and non-virtual environments for scientific tasks, and applications of art, perception, and cognition to visualization. 

Andy’s research has concerned computer graphics, hypermedia systems, post-WIMP user interfaces, including pen- and touch-computing, and educational software. His research group has been working on a sophisticated hypermedia system, Dash, for multiple years.

For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communications Manager Jesse C. Polhemus.