History of the NASA JPL Computer Graphics Laboratory as a Graph Database
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  Julian Gomez   Julian Gomez
Polished Pixels


Wednesday, February 1, 2017
02:30 PM - 03:15 PM

Level:  Case Study

The NASA JPL Computer Graphics Laboratory existed from 1977 to 1986 and was tasked with bringing the then new field of 3D computer graphics into applicable areas of NASA spaceflight operations. The lab produced computer animations of many spacecraft planetary encounters, including Voyager and Pioneer and other deep space missions. It also provided advanced computer graphics engineering support for the Voyager and other missions, and outside projects were Carl Sagan’s Man and the Cosmos series and the Annenberg Foundation’s Mathematics! Series.

This talk will first present an overview of the operations at the lab and what tasks were required for NASA mission support. In a significant departure from conventional linear history presentation, the history of the lab is being prepared as a graph database, to enable dynamic, context sensitive navigation. This will allow the “reader” to navigate on an as desired basis, so direction of interest can change at will. Second, it will enable presenting the history as a virtual reality experience. The focus of the talk is development of a graph database model needed to implement these requirements.

Julian Gómez has spent the last few decades pushing 3D computer graphics into new areas. His career has been equally split between academia and industry, including the publication of a number of papers, software products, and websites, with a focus on interdisciplinary R&D. Julian started his career at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Computer Graphics Laboratory, and has also been at RIACS in the NASA Ames Research Center, Macromedia, Apple Computer, LEGO and Sun Microsystems, and he is co-founder of several startups. While Chief Scientist at LEGO A/S, he pioneered the use of relational databases for managing 3D information. He organized and chaired the NASA Virtual Iron Bird Workshop, with a focus on interdisciplinary R&D for knowledge management. Gómez has an AB with honors from the University of California at Berkeley; his dissertation was a project to visualize classical music. He has a PhD from Ohio State University; his dissertation presented a general theory for 3D computer.

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