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University projects recognized at technology summit

May 3, 2007
by Tom Bosco

Two projects involving Ohio University researchers were among eight singled out at this week's Ohio Supercomputer Center 2007 Advanced Technology Summit.

Photo courtesy of Chang LiuChang Liu, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, was commended for leadership in developing the Science and Technology Enrichment for Appalachian Middle-schoolers, or STEAM, project. The project partners Ohio University with six area middle schools to generate interest in science and technology through video games and Internet learning environments such as Second Life.

Liu and two faculty colleagues recently won a $1.67 million National Science Foundation grant to develop engaging science curricula for middle school students.

"Instead of wasting their time with video games," Lui said, "let students learn by playing educational video games."

In addition, Owens Community College in northwest Ohio earned an award for collaboration for a project providing education training for first responders. Owens collaborated with Ohio University's Game Research and Immersive Design Lab on a simulation to train emergency personnel in firefighting.

The GRID Lab's research team of John Bowditch, Ben Schneider and Steve Mokris developed the simulation, in which a user must help extinguish a fire at a burning building in cyberspace. 

"The user sees where people in need of rescue are, how hot places are, where walls are collapsing," explained GRID Lab Director Karen Riggs. "This is an application that can be applied all over the country."

The GRID Lab team developed the concept and now will work with Owens to further develop the simulation.

The Ohio Supercomputer Center provides the state with a public cyber infrastructure, including high-performance computers, data storage and advanced networking. Funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, the center has been in existence for 20 years. The awards ceremony was held Tuesday in Columbus.

"The awards program recognizes the wonderful technology-related achievements of Ohio's brilliant scientists and educators," said Stanley Ahalt, executive director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

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