Wednesday, August 05, 2015

UTSA's SiViRT engineering center accomplishes great things in first year

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SiVIRT lab

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(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.

 

 

Did You Know?

For acclaimed UTSA writer, poetry rhymes with life

Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.

Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.

Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.

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Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p.m.; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

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Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus

Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


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