DMAE Film Series
“Ex Machina,” the directorial debut by novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland (“28 Days Later,” “Sunshine”), is a rare and welcome exception to that norm. It starts out as an ominous thriller about a young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) orbiting a charismatic Dr. Frankenstein-type (Oscar Isaac) and slowly learning that the scientist’s zeal to create artificial intelligence has a troubling, even sickening personal agenda. But even as the revelations pile up and the screws tighten and you start to sense that terror and violence are inevitable, the movie never loses grip on what it’s about; this is a rare commercial film in which every scene, sequence, composition and line deepens the screenplay’s themes—which means that when the ending arrives, it seems less predictable than inevitable and right, as in myths, legends and Bible stories.
For the latest information on what’s happening in digital media at LSU, go to http://bit.ly/1Ve553n.
*Attention digital media students*
Katrina & Rita: A Decade of Research & Response
August 25-28, 2015
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near the Louisiana-Mississippi border, wreaking havoc along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The following month, Hurricane Rita struck southwest Louisiana, dealing a double-blow to the state, the coast and the nation. LSU’s critical role in the rescue and recovery efforts during both storms is only matched by the extensive research and creativity that has grown out of the study of the storms’ impact. LSU researchers have generated more than 175 published papers, presentations and other materials based on research relating to Katrina, Rita and post-hurricane recovery.
In commemoration of the storms’ 10th anniversary, the Office of Research & Economic Development (ORED) hosts Katrina & Rita: A Decade of Research & Response, a coordinated collection of free events and activities that highlight the research conducted by LSU faculty, staff and students that came out of the storms.
Registration is free and open to the public. Register at: http://sites01.lsu.edu/wp/ored/katrina-10/
Tuesday, August 25 – 5-7 p.m. LSU Science Cafe presents Survivors from the Coastal Parishes at Chelsea’s Cafe. Visit our Facebook event page for more information.
Thursday, August 27 – Sunday, October 4 Katrina@10: A Photography Exhibition at the LSU School of Art Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Exhibition Gallery. Visit glassellgallery.org for more information.
Thursday, August 27 – 7:30-9:30 p.m. Film Screening, Poetry Reading and Discussion at the LSU Digital Media Center Theatre.
Friday, August 28 – 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Katrina & Rita Symposium at the LSU Digital Media Center. Symposium reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
In the computer world of Jiggler, the maze is tough. Then the walls start moving.
Designed by Hannah Vautrot and Courtney Lawrence, both 14, over two-and-a-half days at LSU’s game design camp, GameCrash, Jiggler may be a little too hard.
“We may have over-complicated it for ourselves,” says Vautrot with a slight smile as she furiously types in the final touches before the game’s big presentation.
The two girls crowd around a laptop surrounded by empty soda cans, juice boxes and snack-cake wrappers, a scene replicated throughout the classroom, where two dozen teens type away at lines of programming code and test their new creations, digital worlds invented over 20 hours at the keyboard.
A trio from Covington has stayed up nights away from camp to create its virtual world, a quest not unlike Super Mario Brothers where a squat little man runs from tower to tower fighting enemies in order to find a small pyramid statue.
Their game world comes complete with gravity along with its effects on friction and mass.
“We would’ve gotten a lot more done, but we spent a lot of time making the physics,” says Kenneth Bruhl, 15.
This camp gives Bruhl a chance to combine his two main loves.
“The only two things I’ve ever been good at are art and programming,” he says.
One of four camps offered by the LSU Center for Computation and Technology, GameCrash aims to jump-start students’ game-designing skills.
For the first two-and-a-half days, the students — mostly 14- to 16-year-olds — write the code for a classic video game, Space Invaders, to learn how the guts of a game look.
They must type out about 2,000 lines of code, says Marc Aubanel, the lead instructor at GameCrash and director of the Digital Media Arts & Engineering program at LSU, which teaches video game design.
“If I just explained the interface, it would be kind of boring,” Aubanel says. “It’s kind of like teaching someone to swim by throwing them in the pool. We go right into making the game.”
A generation ago, this camp could not have existed. Then, a development kit for a video game system cost thousands of dollars, Aubanel said.
Now, the students can download free game-building programs, and the camp only costs $95.
The other computer camps focus on teaching basic programming languages, engineering and music recording and production. While they help recruit future students to the university, they also teach teens complex critical thinking skills important in today’s high school curriculum, says J. “Ram” Ramanujam, director of the Center for Computation & Technology.
“It’s teaching them to think through the process of making a game,” he says. “They learn lots of things about how to organize their thoughts, where they make a mistake and quickly learn something new.”
Students like Vautrot and Lawrence encourage Aubanel, who worked in the gaming industry and sees a need for more women in the industry. While nearly half of gamers are women, most designers are men.
Learning to design the games they love is tough, says Lawrence, who almost never removes her bright green headphones.
“Writing all that code and trying to get it all right — if you write one thing wrong it crashes,” she says. “But it’s all worth it at the end if you make a game.”
At the end of camp, all the young designers present their games on the big screen in a theater before their parents, fellow students and instructors.
A few press the start key and watch the dreaded warning pop onto the screen: Code Error — Fatal error. The crowd empathizes with a loud “Ahhhh!”
The difficult maze from Vautrot and Lawrence is so tough that neither can beat the game during the presentation.
“It’s so hard!” one boy yells from the crowd.
Aubanel compares it to a classic game Frogger.
“I love Frogger!” he says.
Before the crowd applauds, Vautrot finishes the pitch: “As you can see, this game has a lot of potential.”
The Acadiana Advocate
BATON ROUGE – LSU has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the POWER microprocessor architecture. Community members work collaboratively to address critical big data, cloud and application challenges, reimagine the data center and produce innovative systems designs.
LSU joins a growing roster of technology organizations and universities partnering to build advanced server, networking, storage and acceleration technology for the development of next-generation, hyperscale and cloud data centers. The group makes POWER hardware and software available to open development for the first time, as well as making POWER intellectual property licensable to others, greatly expanding the ecosystem of innovators on the platform. The collaboratively built hardware and software solutions will be utilized by LSU’s Center for Computation & Technology, or CCT, to improve infrastructure support for research at LSU.
The increasing amount of data being generated in today’s world has led to computational challenges for effective data capture and storage, transfer, retrieval and analysis. Data analysis to extract value from large and complex data, or so-called big data, is a clear bottleneck for many university data centers, often due to the lack of appropriate infrastructure and the sheer size and complexity of the data. Additionally, there is a growing need for more robust modeling, simulation and visualization techniques across multiple disciplines.
“Data-enabled research is of fundamental importance to many research and development activities at LSU. Coastal scientists are integrating disparate data sets to develop smarter approaches to wetlands management. Engineers develop and utilize powerful modeling and simulation tools to create the next generation of materials for storing and delivering electrical energy. Artists work with the CCT Cultural Computing Group to create experimental sonic art pieces out of data such as LIDAR scans of the Mississippi River. Life scientists are involved in analyzing complex genomic data, etc.,” said Gus Kousoulas, LSU associate vice president for research and economic development. “We are committed to positioning LSU as an international leader in advanced computing and big data research in collaboration with IBM and to assist in Louisiana’s economic development and diversification efforts.”
The development model of the OpenPOWER Foundation facilitates collaboration and represents a new approach for exploiting and innovating around powerful processor technology.
“In addition to advancing computational and data science research at LSU, being an OpenPOWER member enables new opportunities in hardware and software systems research at LSU,” said J. “Ram” Ramanujam, CCT director.
With the POWER architecture designed for big data and cloud applications, new OpenPOWER Foundation members, like LSU, will be able to add their own innovations and create new applications to provide solutions for a variety of research problems and societal needs.
LSU Center for Computation & Technology: https://www.cct.lsu.edu/
The LSU Center for Computation & Technology and School of Music will host the 2015 International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, or NIME, May 31-June 3. This will be the 14th year that researchers and musicians from all over the world come together to share state-of-the-art musical interfaces and interactions for musical performance.
Brought back to life by the mad scientists at LSU’s Center for Computation and Technology, the event formerly known as the Red Stick International Animation Festival returns after a two-year hiatus. Scheduled events, workshops and presentations promise to explore the ways in which digital media are shaping the way we view the world. Digital artists, makers, engineers, and entrepreneurs from Baton Rouge and beyond will gather downtown to present:
• 5:30 pm–10 pm: Performances by digital performance artists Evidence & Luke DuBois during a Steam Punk-themed gathering at the Town Lawn (North Blvd @ Third Street)
• 10 am–noon: An Art/Tech Kids’ Lab event at the River Center Branch Library featuring a Lego lab, Minecraft and Arduino showcases, interactive art projects and live lab for ages six and up.
• Free workshops to introduce folks to Arduino (an electronics kit that anyone can use), Light Painting with iPads, and Cloudlet-based digital art collaboration. See redstickfestival.org for locations and times.
• 8:30 pm–’til: A Saturday night screening of Pitch Perfect, a film made right here in Baton Rouge, at the Town Lawn.
• 3 pm–5 pm: A screening of selected animation pieces from previous Red Stick Animation Festivals. LASM, 100 S. River Road.
• 6 pm–8 pm: NIME @ Red Stick: An art exhibit taking place throughout the Shaw Center for the Arts and Glassell Gallery, coinciding with the opening of the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference opening at LSU this day. 100 Lafayette Street.
redstickfestival.org to learn more.