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Announcements of Opportunity

SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor. Click here for more tips on finding a mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

New for 2021: Students applying for JPL projects should complete a SURF@JPL application instead of a "regular" SURF application.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  From Visual Interfaces to Back End Services to Enable Remote and Collaborative Science
Disciplines:  Computer Science, Multidisciplinary, Data Science, Data Visualization
Mentor:  Santiago Lombeyda, Senior Computational Scientist, (PMA), santiago@caltech.edu
Mentor URL:  http://ovras.caltech.edu/ert/concierge/  (opens in new window)
Background:  We are exploring the ways in which these technologies can be used for the scientific and scholarly purposes. This project is about exploring technologies and solutions researchers can utilize as an alternative to physical laboratory spaces.

In this project we aim to enable scientific exploration, within the virtual lab spaces already created. Ultimately our goals are to achieve a better understanding of how to best enable science in our future mixed reality world, the best practices, and a more focused view of the problems to be solved.
Description:  In 2018 & 2019, SURF students successfully developed a collaborative Virtual Reality classroom and lab space (http://ovras.caltech.edu/ERT/), as well extended it, through the use of a Python middle server, and exposed a live Python simulation, as well as interacting with a Matlab computational engine.

In 2019 a SURF student created a fast reliable server (implemented using Rust) to help with the data and user communication relay between simulation and computational services and the Virtual Reality front end, as well as an alternative browser based version (implemented using Javascript + React + Babylon.js).

Our goal this summer is to fully embrace the created ecosystem to further explore both alternative front user interfaces as well as richer lab experiences.

This could mean adding viewer options into virtual worlds (SecondLife), adding richer user to user experiences in our web based interface (3d sound, video, basic 3d spatial location understanding); or on the back-end tapping into scientific visualization tools (such as VTK, http://vtk.org), creating an intuitive virtual reality “graphical programming interface” (counterpart to the browser based CCV, http://ccv.caltech.edu), or explore any other ways of interacting with or generating 3D scenes or physical simulations.

Depending on the project direction, work could include coding in Javascript (for WebBased solutions), PHP and/or SecondLife Scripting Language, C# (as part of Unity based VR solutions) library (for the VR applications), or Rust for extensions to the relay server. An overall understanding of socket communication is common to all server, services, and front interface work.
References:  “OVS+Tumor: a tool for enhanced lung tumor annotation in VR for machine learning training and analysis”, Lombeyda, Santiago et al.,
SIGGRAPH '19: ACM SIGGRAPH 2019 Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed RealityJuly 2019, Article No.: 26, pp 1 https://doi.org/10.1145/3306449.3328825

"An Enhanced Reality for Teaching. ". As presented at ELI’19. http://ovras.caltech.edu/ERT

"The MICA Experiment: Astrophysics in Virtual Worlds", Djorgovski, S.G., et al., Proc. SLACTIONS 2012, pp. 49-58, available at https://arxiv.org/abs/1301.6808

"Immersive and Collaborative Data Visualization Using Virtual Reality Platforms", Donalek, C., et al., IEEE Big Data 2014, p. 609, available at https://arxiv.org/abs/1410.7670
Student Requirements:  - Programming in Javascript, C#, PHP, or Rust is necessary
- Some experience with VR (including gaming) also a plus
- Interest in VirtualWorlds (SecondLife/Virtech) also helpful
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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