OIT and SiViRT Center Collaborate with USAA for Data Analytics and Visualization

February 28, 2017


(Center Director and Professor of UTSA’s SiViRT Yusheng Feng Ph. D, giving USAA delegates a tour of the UTSA VizLab)

On February 10th, the UTSA Research Computing Support Group (RCSG) with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) hosted a tour for the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) to explore potential collaboration in the areas of data analytics and visualization. USAA was invited by the UTSA Simulation Visualization and Real-Time Predication (SiViRT) Center to initiate the collaboration effort between UTSA and USAA. The tour involved Vice President of Enterprise Data & Analytics at USAA Office Michael Kozub along with eight other USAA high-level executives.



(UTSA Director of Research Computing Support Brent League and Dr. Feng welcoming USAA visitors)

At the beginning of the tour, UTSA's Director of Research Computing Support Brent League, along with Center Director and Professor of UTSA's SiViRT Yusheng Feng Ph.D., and UTSA Associate Professor of Computer Science John Quarles Ph.D., welcomed the distinguished guests from USAA. The event was held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., allowing visitors time to view the university's new wealth of solar energy resources and the UTSA Advanced Visualization Laboratory (VizLab).

Dr. Feng led the tour with Enterprise Research Application Support Analyst Zhiwei Wang. Participants were introduced to both the SiViRT Center and VizLab, which were initially funded by the National Science Foundation. USAA visitors were educated on the history and expertise of SiViRT Center faculty as well as its research capabilities to the USAA visitors. Dr. Feng also elaborated that the UTSA VizLab allows researchers from all disciplines of art, science, and engineering to conduct simulation and visualization research to understand complex phenomena better and translate data into images on large-scale and high-resolution visualization walls or other display devices.


(USAA visitor trying a virtual reality enabled Cardiac Surgery Simulator provided in the UTSA VizLab)

During the tour, participants were given a first-hand experience with the VizLab resources available to the UTSA community to see how the resources could help them in their current business environment at USAA. One of the participants stated, “The VizWall would contribute to making communication and presentations easier.” They also indicated how they would the VizWall to “help explore data and display metrics for evaluating the performance of USAA.”



(USAA participants during an open discussion on possible collaboration and a possible partnership)


At the end of the tour, the USAA participants had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their needs in the data analytics and visualization.  Many of their questions focused on the VizWall and developing computer models of decision support systems as well as methods and tools for predicting future trends using big data. Dr. Feng expressed interests not only in collaborative research but also internship opportunities for UTSA students. To proceed with the partnership, Christina Hollman, Assistant Vice President at USAA and point of contact to UTSA, will arrange a return visit for SiViRT faculty shortly.

 The tour introduced them to several UTSA resources including:

  • The VizWall - VizLab's 14.4' by 6' large visualization wall with high resolution up to almost 200 million pixels. (Nearly 100 times more clarity than commonly used household television sets)
  • SHAMU -the largest HPC cluster at the University.
  • NEMO- a fast GPU dominated cluster empowers the VizWall.
  • Oculus Rift- virtual reality (VR) headsets, which use state-of-the-art displays and optics designed specifically for VR.
  • HTC Vive - the latest augmented virtual reality device.

Click here to learn more about the available FREE resources at the UTSA Advanced Visualization Laboratory (VizLab).

Click here for more information on the UTSA Simulation Visualization and Real-Time Predication (SiViRT) Center.