*Attention digital media students*
Katrina & Rita: A Decade of Research & Response
August 25-28, 2015
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near the Louisiana-Mississippi border, wreaking havoc along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The following month, Hurricane Rita struck southwest Louisiana, dealing a double-blow to the state, the coast and the nation. LSU’s critical role in the rescue and recovery efforts during both storms is only matched by the extensive research and creativity that has grown out of the study of the storms’ impact. LSU researchers have generated more than 175 published papers, presentations and other materials based on research relating to Katrina, Rita and post-hurricane recovery.
In commemoration of the storms’ 10th anniversary, the Office of Research & Economic Development (ORED) hosts Katrina & Rita: A Decade of Research & Response, a coordinated collection of free events and activities that highlight the research conducted by LSU faculty, staff and students that came out of the storms.
Registration is free and open to the public. Register at: http://sites01.lsu.edu/wp/ored/katrina-10/
Tuesday, August 25 – 5-7 p.m. LSU Science Cafe presents Survivors from the Coastal Parishes at Chelsea’s Cafe. Visit our Facebook event page for more information.
Thursday, August 27 – Sunday, October 4 Katrina@10: A Photography Exhibition at the LSU School of Art Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Exhibition Gallery. Visit glassellgallery.org for more information.
Thursday, August 27 – 7:30-9:30 p.m. Film Screening, Poetry Reading and Discussion at the LSU Digital Media Center Theatre.
Friday, August 28 – 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Katrina & Rita Symposium at the LSU Digital Media Center. Symposium reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
In the computer world of Jiggler, the maze is tough. Then the walls start moving.
Designed by Hannah Vautrot and Courtney Lawrence, both 14, over two-and-a-half days at LSU’s game design camp, GameCrash, Jiggler may be a little too hard.
“We may have over-complicated it for ourselves,” says Vautrot with a slight smile as she furiously types in the final touches before the game’s big presentation.
The two girls crowd around a laptop surrounded by empty soda cans, juice boxes and snack-cake wrappers, a scene replicated throughout the classroom, where two dozen teens type away at lines of programming code and test their new creations, digital worlds invented over 20 hours at the keyboard.
A trio from Covington has stayed up nights away from camp to create its virtual world, a quest not unlike Super Mario Brothers where a squat little man runs from tower to tower fighting enemies in order to find a small pyramid statue.
Their game world comes complete with gravity along with its effects on friction and mass.
“We would’ve gotten a lot more done, but we spent a lot of time making the physics,” says Kenneth Bruhl, 15.
This camp gives Bruhl a chance to combine his two main loves.
“The only two things I’ve ever been good at are art and programming,” he says.
One of four camps offered by the LSU Center for Computation and Technology, GameCrash aims to jump-start students’ game-designing skills.
For the first two-and-a-half days, the students — mostly 14- to 16-year-olds — write the code for a classic video game, Space Invaders, to learn how the guts of a game look.
They must type out about 2,000 lines of code, says Marc Aubanel, the lead instructor at GameCrash and director of the Digital Media Arts & Engineering program at LSU, which teaches video game design.
“If I just explained the interface, it would be kind of boring,” Aubanel says. “It’s kind of like teaching someone to swim by throwing them in the pool. We go right into making the game.”
A generation ago, this camp could not have existed. Then, a development kit for a video game system cost thousands of dollars, Aubanel said.
Now, the students can download free game-building programs, and the camp only costs $95.
The other computer camps focus on teaching basic programming languages, engineering and music recording and production. While they help recruit future students to the university, they also teach teens complex critical thinking skills important in today’s high school curriculum, says J. “Ram” Ramanujam, director of the Center for Computation & Technology.
“It’s teaching them to think through the process of making a game,” he says. “They learn lots of things about how to organize their thoughts, where they make a mistake and quickly learn something new.”
Students like Vautrot and Lawrence encourage Aubanel, who worked in the gaming industry and sees a need for more women in the industry. While nearly half of gamers are women, most designers are men.
Learning to design the games they love is tough, says Lawrence, who almost never removes her bright green headphones.
“Writing all that code and trying to get it all right — if you write one thing wrong it crashes,” she says. “But it’s all worth it at the end if you make a game.”
At the end of camp, all the young designers present their games on the big screen in a theater before their parents, fellow students and instructors.
A few press the start key and watch the dreaded warning pop onto the screen: Code Error — Fatal error. The crowd empathizes with a loud “Ahhhh!”
The difficult maze from Vautrot and Lawrence is so tough that neither can beat the game during the presentation.
“It’s so hard!” one boy yells from the crowd.
Aubanel compares it to a classic game Frogger.
“I love Frogger!” he says.
Before the crowd applauds, Vautrot finishes the pitch: “As you can see, this game has a lot of potential.”
The Acadiana Advocate
BATON ROUGE – LSU has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the POWER microprocessor architecture. Community members work collaboratively to address critical big data, cloud and application challenges, reimagine the data center and produce innovative systems designs.
LSU joins a growing roster of technology organizations and universities partnering to build advanced server, networking, storage and acceleration technology for the development of next-generation, hyperscale and cloud data centers. The group makes POWER hardware and software available to open development for the first time, as well as making POWER intellectual property licensable to others, greatly expanding the ecosystem of innovators on the platform. The collaboratively built hardware and software solutions will be utilized by LSU’s Center for Computation & Technology, or CCT, to improve infrastructure support for research at LSU.
The increasing amount of data being generated in today’s world has led to computational challenges for effective data capture and storage, transfer, retrieval and analysis. Data analysis to extract value from large and complex data, or so-called big data, is a clear bottleneck for many university data centers, often due to the lack of appropriate infrastructure and the sheer size and complexity of the data. Additionally, there is a growing need for more robust modeling, simulation and visualization techniques across multiple disciplines.
“Data-enabled research is of fundamental importance to many research and development activities at LSU. Coastal scientists are integrating disparate data sets to develop smarter approaches to wetlands management. Engineers develop and utilize powerful modeling and simulation tools to create the next generation of materials for storing and delivering electrical energy. Artists work with the CCT Cultural Computing Group to create experimental sonic art pieces out of data such as LIDAR scans of the Mississippi River. Life scientists are involved in analyzing complex genomic data, etc.,” said Gus Kousoulas, LSU associate vice president for research and economic development. “We are committed to positioning LSU as an international leader in advanced computing and big data research in collaboration with IBM and to assist in Louisiana’s economic development and diversification efforts.”
The development model of the OpenPOWER Foundation facilitates collaboration and represents a new approach for exploiting and innovating around powerful processor technology.
“In addition to advancing computational and data science research at LSU, being an OpenPOWER member enables new opportunities in hardware and software systems research at LSU,” said J. “Ram” Ramanujam, CCT director.
With the POWER architecture designed for big data and cloud applications, new OpenPOWER Foundation members, like LSU, will be able to add their own innovations and create new applications to provide solutions for a variety of research problems and societal needs.
LSU Center for Computation & Technology: https://www.cct.lsu.edu/
The LSU Center for Computation & Technology and School of Music will host the 2015 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, or NIME, May 31-June 3. This will be the 14th year that researchers and musicians from all over the world come together to share state-of-the-art musical interfaces and interactions for musical performance.
Brought back to life by the mad scientists at LSU’s Center for Computation and Technology, the event formerly known as the Red Stick International Animation Festival returns after a two-year hiatus. Scheduled events, workshops and presentations promise to explore the ways in which digital media are shaping the way we view the world. Digital artists, makers, engineers, and entrepreneurs from Baton Rouge and beyond will gather downtown to present:
• 5:30 pm–10 pm: Performances by digital performance artists Evidence & Luke DuBois during a Steam Punk-themed gathering at the Town Lawn (North Blvd @ Third Street)
• 10 am–noon: An Art/Tech Kids’ Lab event at the River Center Branch Library featuring a Lego lab, Minecraft and Arduino showcases, interactive art projects and live lab for ages six and up.
• Free workshops to introduce folks to Arduino (an electronics kit that anyone can use), Light Painting with iPads, and Cloudlet-based digital art collaboration. See redstickfestival.org for locations and times.
• 8:30 pm–’til: A Saturday night screening of Pitch Perfect, a film made right here in Baton Rouge, at the Town Lawn.
• 3 pm–5 pm: A screening of selected animation pieces from previous Red Stick Animation Festivals. LASM, 100 S. River Road.
• 6 pm–8 pm: NIME @ Red Stick: An art exhibit taking place throughout the Shaw Center for the Arts and Glassell Gallery, coinciding with the opening of the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference opening at LSU this day. 100 Lafayette Street.
redstickfestival.org to learn more.
30 seconds with experimental music professor Jesse Allison
by Jennifer Tormo
The LSU professor of experimental music and digital media spearheading this month’s Red Stick International Festival divulges what to expect at the technology-themed event.
What can visitors expect to find at this year’s festival?
LSU’s Center for Computation and Technology is going to present seven events over three days. The opening gala, with a carnival-type feel, will be an industry/business gathering featuring steampunk as well as a performance by a world-renowned digital artist. Other events will include a kid’s lab and expo/maker fair, both sponsored by Electronic Arts; Drones, Drama & Drinks sponsored by NOVAC, in which we explore the rising potential (and controversy) of the flying camera; an outdoor screening of Pitch Perfect; an animation retrospective of previous Red Stick Animation festivals; and the opening of the NIME @ Red Stick art exhibit (read more on that later).
Any exhibits or events that you think locals might get especially excited about?
The East Baton Rouge Parish library, which has been a big supporter of the festival, is hosting the Expo & Maker Fair at the downtown library on the afternoon of Saturday, May 30, at River Center Branch Library. We are expecting exhibits from Electronic Arts, NASA and local robotics clubs, among others, and a maker fair with booths from various local makers. Acadian Robotics, the only 3-D printer manufacturer in Louisiana, will be demonstrating some of their products.
What’s the one part of the festival that’s a must for any attendee?
Celtic Studios is presenting a movie night, and we are showcasing a film made right here in Baton Rouge, Pitch Perfect. We are going to show it downtown at North Boulevard Town Square on the evening of May 30. We encourage everyone to grab a blanket, come down and watch the movie.
How long has the festival been running for? How has it evolved over the years?
Stephen David Beck and Stacey Simmons of LSU’s Center for Computation and Technology created the Red Stick International Animation Festival in 2005 to show the importance of high-performance computing through a popular medium—computer animation. The last Red Stick Animation Festival was held here in 2012. Last year, we decided to rebrand and retool the festival to an event focused on digital media (including but not limited to animation), maker fairs, experimental music concerts, digital art exhibits, game jams and other technology-derived events. Last year’s showcase was called FutureFest. Our goal this year was an open-source festival, with the community helping to shape the events. So we decided to keep the name simple—The Red Stick International Festival.
The festival overlaps with another international conference, New Interfaces of Musical Expression (NIME). How is Red Stick International Festival collaborating with NIME?
We have a number of NIME @ Red Stick crossover events that will allow festival attendees to get a glimpse into recent developments in the music world. The grandest of these is the NIME Art Exhibition Opening Reception on Sunday, May 31, 6-8 p.m. Many of the artists/attendees from NIME will be on hand for the opening, and we also plan for some of the NIME classes and workshops to be open to Red Stick attendees. As Red Stick ends, the NIME conference (May 31-June 3) continues the creative technology events with demos, presentations and concerts that are open to the public. For more info, visit nime2015.lsu.edu.
The Red Stick International Festival festival starts May 29 at 6 p.m. with the opening gala and runs through May 31. All events are free. Events will be held at various spots downtown, including the Shaw Center for the Arts, LSU Museum of Art and North Boulevard Town Square. For a full schedule and to learn more about the event, visit redstickfestival.org.
Show your work at the Maker Faire! Sign up here: https://redstickfestival.org/
We invite you to show your creative digital media projects or DIY experiments at the Red Stick Expo and Maker Faire, scheduled for Saturday, May 30th, at the River Center Library, Downtown Baton Rouge (2PM-6PM).