Magazine article National Forum

Note from the Editor

Magazine article National Forum

Note from the Editor

Article excerpt


This issue is a special one for several reasons. First, of course, it is special because of the content. Our authors explore a variety of ways in which computer technologies are being used to forward scientific research and stretch artistic boundaries. Computers have become such an integral part of our everyday professional and home existence that we sometimes forget the remarkable things that programmers and researchers are doing with them to improve our lives and enhance our knowledge. Our authors provide us with some insight into where one area of computer applications, animation and graphics, is heading.

We lead off with an article from Don Hahn on animation and storytelling. Mr. Hahn, who has produced some of the most successful animated films of the last decade for Disney Studios, including Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, describes the resurgence of animated films, and emphasizes that although human- and computer-generated images are an important part of such a film's appeal, it is the human appeal of the story that ultimately makes for a great film.

Following that, Christopher Johnson explores the research he and others are performing at the University of Utah into medical applications of computer data visualization. Johnson discusses some developments that are allowing physicians to look into the human body and locate problem areas in the heart and brain without having to resort to intrusive and expensive exploratory surgery.

James Cross and Dean Hendrix give us an overview of some of the software available for visualizing the millions of lines of code that make up a computer program. Such software has the potential to help engineers and scientists write better programs and develop better teaching methods for future computer engineers.

Bonnie Mitchell then tells us about a series of fascinating collaborative art projects using the Internet as it and software used to gain access to it evolved, along with software designed to manipulate and create computer-generated images. She relates how the projects grew in concept and complexity, quickly achieving international participation.

William Hibbard also tells us of a collaborative effort, this time on the scientific side. He relates how a software program designed for visualizing weather data, Vis5D, has evolved as computers have grown more powerful and thus more able to manipulate animated images, and also how freely sharing it with others in the scientific community has led to new applications and even new programs for similar purposes. …

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