(Dec. 2, 2010)--The UTSA Center for Simulation, Visualization and Real-Time Prediction (SiVIRT) has become an important resource for aspiring engineers. The research and education center, which integrates high-performance computing in all of its activities, launched a year ago in the UTSA College of Engineering and already has accomplished great things.
"The bottom line is that we want to support engineers through computing," said Stathis Michaelides, UTSA Robert F. McDermott Chair in Engineering and SiVIRT director. "That means everyone from middle school students on up to our research faculty."
SiViRT offers expertise to students in San Antonio and the region. In the spring, for example, the center assisted a Knippa, Texas, junior high robotics teacher and her class with free training on the SolidWorks software, which they received for their robotics program. The budding engineers now are using SolidWorks to prepare for their next robotics competition.
In the summer, the center sponsored nearly 80 middle and high school students at a two-week advanced robotics camp in the UTSA Interactive Technology Experience Center. The students built soccer-playing robots as a way to develop engineering, programming and teamwork skills. The camp culminated in a friendly three-on-three robot soccer competition.
At the college level, SiViRT has financially supported 53 UTSA students: 22 undergraduates and 31 graduate students. Each has received training in simulation, visualization and real-time prediction, which will increase their marketability once they graduate. Two-thirds of SiViRT students are minorities and women, supporting SiViRT's goal to improve the retention of under-represented and minority engineering students.
UTSA established the SiViRT center in 2009 with funding from the National Science Foundation as a response to the critical shortage of qualified professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related careers.
In addition to supporting the community and UTSA students, the center supports faculty using high-performance computing to research topics in imaging, real-time prediction and uncertainty quantification. In just a year, the SiViRT imaging team developed a new system to reconstruct and visualize three-dimensional Purkinje cells (neurons) from two-photon microscopy images.
The new method provides a much clearer picture of the neurons and has revealed hidden dendrite branches in those neurons. The real-time prediction researchers have developed a bio-heat transfer model for kidney cooling. The device will improve the kidney transplant process by allowing kidneys to survive for a longer period of time before transplantation.
To learn more about SiViRT community outreach, academic and research activities, contact Efstathios Michaelides at 210-458-5516.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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