LAVA Erupts at the Mālama Honua Summit

In celebration of Hōkūleʻa’s Homecoming after voyaging around Island Earth, the Polynesian Voyaging Society invited local and global community members to gather for a three-day summit to discuss mālama honua stories of hope inspired by the Worldwide Voyage and develop sail plans for the future of Hawaiʻi and our planet.

Academy for Creative Media students (Kari Noe, Andrew Guagliardo, Kurt Noe), ICS student (Anna Sikkink), and Learning Technology students (Patrick Karjala, Dean Lodes) celebrated the event by exhibiting Kilo Hoku Virtual Reality Voyaging Canoe Simulator.

Kilo Hoku is a project to explore the possibility of teaching future generations of students in the art and science of polynesian way finding using VR technology. The simulation puts the user on-board a virtual Hokulea twin-hull polynesian voyaging canoe and teaches them how to navigate between two nearby islands in Hawaii. The work was developed by ACM, ICS double major Kari Noe, ICS student Anna Sikkink, Learning Technology students Patrick Karjala and Dean Lodes.

The students not only demonstrated their simulator to the general public but also to Hokuleʻa navigators, as well as her captain, Kalepa Baybayan.


Dr. Kim Binsted Talks Mars at The President’s Series on Hawai‘i Island

What Will It Be Like to Live on Mars?
Planning for Human Exploration of Space

On April 5, ICS Professor Kim Binsted will discuss the HI-SEAS (Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) project as part of The President’s Series on Hawai‘i Island.


HI-SEAS is an analog habitat for human spaceflight to Mars, located on an isolated Mars-like site on the Mauna Loa side of the saddle area at 8200 feet above sea level. The fourth phase of the project began in August of 2015 and lasted for one year. Learn what was discovered about what humans will need to stay happy and healthy during an extended mission to Mars.

Wednesday, April 5, 5 p.m.
RSVP by March 30
808-956-9340 or

Hawaiʻi Community College – Pālamanui Outdoor Theatre (Campus Piko)
73-4225 Ane Keohokālole Hwy, Kailua-Kona

More information: The President’s Series – Hawai‘i Island


Professor Lipyeow Lim on Bytemarks Cafe

Professor Lipyeow Lim discussed cryptocurrency and blockchain on the March 5 edition of Bytemarks Cafe. Check it out here: Episode 466

X-Men Director, Bryan Singer, Visits LAVA

January 2, 2017

Opening 2017 with a bang, Director of the X-Men series of movies, Bryan Singer, visited the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications (LAVA) at the invitation of the Academy for Creative Media System founding director, Chris Lee.

During the visit, Mr. Singer had the opportunity to see LAVA’s  Innovator-class CyberCANOE- a tiled ultra-high resolution 3D visualization wall. Mr. Singer commented that “this is some of the best 3D I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot!” To which director of LAVA- Jason Leigh, commented, as he pointed at the recently completed Destiny-class CyberCANOE, “No it’s not. This is the best 3D you’ve ever seen.”

Mr. Singer spent several hours at LAVA providing feedback on student work as he was intensely interested in Virtual Reality. He was also keenly interested in Black Holes, and spent considerable time observing LAVA’s immersive Black Hole simulation- developed by MS student Noel Kawano’s and ACM undergraduate student Andrew Guagliardo.

Prof. Casanova receives NSF grant: “WRENCH: A Simulation Workbench for Scientific Workflow for Users, Developers, and Researchers”

Professor Henri Casanova was awarded a National Science Foundation grant for the project “WRENCH: A Simulation Workbench for Scientific Workflow for Users, Developers, and Researchers”.  This project received $499,000.00 in funding.

In partnership with Dr. Rafael Ferreira da Silva at the Information Science Institute at the University of Southern California, this project will develop a framework for the study of scientific workflow applications.  See the abstract below for more details.

Scientific workflows have become mainstream for conducting large-scale scientific research.  As a result, many workflow applications and Workflow Management Systems (WMSs) have been developed as part of the cyberinfrastructure to allow scientists to execute their applications seamlessly on a range of distributed platforms.  In spite of many success stories, building large-scale workflows and orchestrating their executions efficiently (in terms of performance, reliability, and cost) remains a challenge given the complexity of the workflows themselves and the complexity of the underlying execution platforms.  A fundamental necessary next step is the establishment of a solid “experimental science” approach for future workflow technology development. Such an approach is useful for scientists who need to design workflows and pick execution platforms, for WMS developers who need to compare alternate design and implementation options, and for researchers who need to develop novel decision-making algorithms to be implemented as part of WMSs.  The broad objective of this work is to provide foundational software, the Workflow Simulation Workbench (WRENCH), upon which to develop the above experimental science approach.  Capitalizing on recent advances in distributed application and platform simulation technology, WRENCH makes it possible to (i) quickly prototype workflow, WMS implementations, and decision-making algorithms; and (ii) evaluate/compare alternative options scalably and accurately for arbitrary, and often hypothetical, experimental scenarios.  This project will define a generic and foundational software architecture, that is informed by current state-of-the-art WMS designs and planned future designs.  The implementation of the components in this architecture when taken together form a generic “scientific instrument” that can be used by workflow users, developers, and researchers.  This scientific instrument will be instantiated for several real-world WMSs and used for a range of real-world workflow applications. In a particular case-study, it will be used with a popular WMS (Pegasus) to revisit published results and scheduling algorithms in the area of workflow planning optimizations. The objective is to demonstrate the benefit of using an experimental science approach for WMS research.  Another impact of this project is that it  makes it possible to include scientific workflow content pervasively in undergraduate and graduate computer science curricula, even for students without any access to computing infrastructure, by defining meaningful pedagogic activities that only require a computer and the WRENCH software stack. This educational impact will be demonstrated in the classroom in both undergraduate and graduate courses at our institutions.

LAVA hosts Mid Pacific High School LiDAR Showcase of Historical Hawaiʻian Site

January 21, 2016

The Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications (LAVA) worked with Mid Pacific High School to showcase their students’ LiDAR scans of Kaniakapupu ruins – the summer palace of King Kamehameha III.

The centerpiece of the showcase was a life-sized stereoscopic 3D virtual reality walkthrough of the historical site using LAVA’s 20-foot, 2x4K resolution CyberCANOE (the Cyber-enabled Collaboration Analysis Navigation and Observation Environment). The demonstration was created through a collaboration between Mid Pacific students and LAVA Master’s student, Eric Wu.

LiDAR Visualization in CyberCANOE Mid Pacific at LAVA  Mid Pacific at LAVA Mid Pacific at LAVA

Students also showed 360-degree images of the site that were taken with a 360-degree GoPro camera system. Viewers were able to see the location in full 360 degree surround using Samsung Gear Virtual Reality headsets.

Mid Pacific Institute students at LAVA

The LiDAR scanner and 360-degree camera were donated by the CyArk Foundation and GoPro. This work was also partially funded by a National Science Foundation project entitled “Development of the Sensor Environment Imaging (SENSEI) Instrument”  to build the SENSEI (SENSor Environment Imaging) instrument that will capture still and motion, 3D full-sphere omnidirectional stereoscopic video and images of real-world scenes, to be viewed in collaboration-enabled, nationally networked, 3D virtual-reality systems. Additional funding for supporting the CyberCANOE was provided by the Academy for Creative Media System at the University of Hawaiʻi.

Mid Pacific Institute's LiDAR scanner at LAVA Mid Pacific Institute's 360 camera at LAVA

Additional pictures>>>

Gazan named Visiting Researcher at NASA Ames

NASA_logoAs part of his Spring 2016 sabbatical, Dr. Rich Gazan will work with the NASA Astrobiology Institute at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA, to develop metrics and visualizations of interdisciplinary science based on the analysis of research publications focused on life in the universe. Building on previous work, this project will help identify areas of actual and potential synergy between researchers from diverse disciplines, and track how terms and concepts in the astrobiology research literature have changed over time.

In Dr. Gazan’s invitation letter, NASA Astrobiology Institute Director Carl Pilcher wrote, “These are important areas of research for the NAI if it is to be able to self-evaluate its effectiveness in bringing together the various disciplines involved in astrobiology research, in a way that can achieve results and discoveries that individual disciplines can not. We are looking forward to working with you again.”

LAVA at Cinegrid 2015

On Dec 10, 2015, the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications (LAVA) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and the University of Illinois at Chicago demonstrated SAGE2- the Scalable Amplified Group Environment software system at the 10th annual CineGrid conference at Qualcomm Institute, on the campus of University of California, San Diego.

A 360 degree video of the presentation can be viewed (using Chrome browser) here:

SAGE2 is an “operating system” for ultra high resolution display environments, that enable teams of users to work with visualizations so that they can come to conclusions and make decisions with greater speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness, and confidence. SAGE2 was funded by a $5M grant from the National Science Foundation in 2013, with the University of Hawaiʻi as the lead institution. It is also partly funded by University of Hawaiʻi’s Academy for Creative Media System.

CineGrid is an annual workshop for an interdisciplinary international community that is focused on the research, development, and demonstration of networked collaborative tools to enable the production, use, preservation, and exchange of very-high-quality digital media over photonic networks. Members of CineGrid consist of both researchers/educators from Academia as well as practitioners from the Film and Digital Media industries.

University of Hawai‘i Data Visualization Expert to Build the Top System in the Nation


The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa will be home to the best data visualization system in the United States, thanks to a major research infrastructure grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The NSF provided $600,000 and the University of Hawai‘i (UH) added $257,000 for a total of $857,000 to develop a large CyberCANOE, which stands for Cyber-enabled Collaboration Analysis Navigation and Observation Environment. The CyberCANOE is a visualization and collaboration infrastructure that allows students and researchers to work together more effectively using large amounts of data and information.  It was designed by Computer and Information Science Professor Jason Leigh, who is also the founder and director of the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications (LAVA) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

UH’s CyberCANOE represents the culmination of over two decades of experience and expertise for Leigh, the grant’s principal investigator, who developed immersive virtual reality environments while at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago- notably the CAVE2 System, which is sold commercially today by Mechdyne.

The UH CyberCANOE will provide an alternative approach to constructing ultra-resolution display environments by using new and completely seamless direct view light emitting diode displays, rather than traditional projection technologies or liquid crystal displays. The net effect is a visual instrument that exceeds the capabilities and overcomes the limitations of the current best-in-class systems at other U.S. universities.

“This comes at the best time for Hawai‘i as the number of students interested in information and computer science is skyrocketing. Last year about 170 freshman computer science students entered the program, this year we will receive 270,” said Leigh. “The University of Hawai‘iʻs CyberCANOE will give these students access to better technology than what will be available on the continent.”

The new 2D and 3D stereoscopic display environment with almost 50 Megapixels of resolution will provide researchers with powerful and easy-to-use, information-rich instrumentation in support of cyberinfrastructure-enabled, data-intensive scientific discovery.

Increasingly, the nation’s computational science and engineering research communities work with international collaborators to tackle complex global problems. Advanced visualization instruments serve as the virtual eyepieces of a telescope or microscope, enabling research teams and their students to view their data in cyberspace, and better manage the increased scale and complexity of accessing and analyzing the data.

“I’m highly excited about this multidisciplinary collaboration between information and computer sciences, the Academy for Creative Media System and electrical engineering,” said co-principal investigator and UH Mānoa Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering David Garmire.  “It will advance the state of the art in research infrastructure for information-rich visualization and immersive experience while providing unique opportunities for the student body.”

At least 46 researchers, 28 postdocs, 833 undergraduates and 45 graduate students spanning disciplines that include oceanography, astrobiology, mathematics, computer science, electrical engineering, biomedical research, archeology, and computational media are poised to use the CyberCANOE for their large-scale data visualization needs. The CyberCANOE will also open up new opportunities in computer science research at the intersection of data-intensive analysis and visualization, human-computer interaction and virtual reality.

UH System’s Academy for Creative Media (ACM) founder and director Chris Lee, who is also a co-principal investigator on the grant, said, “ACM System is thrilled to be able to continue to support Jason Leigh and his team in securing a second NSF Grant.  This new CyberCANOE builds upon the two earlier ‘mini’ CyberCANOEs, which ACM System fully financed at UH Mānoa and UH West O‘ahu.”

The new CyberCANOE, which is expected to be built in about three years, will enable Leigh’s advanced visualization laboratory to provide scientific communities with highly integrated, visually rich collaboration environments; to work with industry to facilitate the creation of new technologies for the advancement of science and engineering; and to continue ongoing partnerships with many of the world’s best scientists in academia and industry.  With the CyberCANOE, the lab will also support the country’s leadership position in high-performance computing and in contributing advancements to complex global issues, such as the environment, health and the economy.

For more about Professor Jason Leigh and the University of Hawai‘s CyberCANOE see:

About the University of Hawai‘i System

Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawai‘i System includes 10 campuses and dozens of educational, training and research centers across the state. As the sole public system of higher education in Hawai‘i, UH offers an array of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees and community programs.  UH enrolls more than 60,000 students from Hawai‘i, the U.S. mainland and around the world.  For more information visit

[Article from Honolulu Star Advertiser available here]

[Coverage from Hawaii News Now available here]

LAVA Completes Construction of New Facility

The Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications completed construction of their new lab space (now at Keller Hall 102). Established by Professor Jason Leigh, the new LAVA facility is the most advanced visualization facility in Hawaii, and with the help of a new National Science Foundation Major Research Infrastructure award, will eventually house the most advanced visualization system in the nation.