TCD wins technology grant for digital media R&D

12 Dec 2006

Trinity College Dublin’s (TCD) School of Computer Science and Statistics has been chosen among 10 universities for a technology donation to conduct several research and development (R&D) animation projects.

TCD has been granted the funds as part of the IBM Shared University Research (SUR) award and it is one of only two universities in Europe to receive a donation of IBM’s Cell Broadband Engine (Cell BE) technology, which is used in the Sony Playstation 3.

The research to be undertaken by TCD’s graphics, vision and visualisation group will be supported by IBM through the donation. The work will focus on next-generation animation systems with the aim of developing intelligent and realistic simulations of human motion for use in computer games and movies.

The cell technology, donated by IBM, will be used by the School of Computer Science and statistics, the oldest and largest department of its type in Ireland, for a number of animation R&D projects.

It’s thought that new technology and intellectual property will result from the research work, which includes development of a real-time simulation of Dublin city, complete with realistic population, traffic and associated urban noise.

Another element of the research involves investigating new methods for generating photorealistic images in real time to increase the level of realism possible in interactive games and simulations — bridging the gap between the graphics quality of games and movies. A third work plan will centre on creating a new application development language for the Cell BE processor, potentially leading to lower-cost game development in the future.

These projects will be funded by research grants from Science Foundation Ireland, the Higher Education Authority, the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology and Enterprise Ireland.

TCD will also collaborate on these research projects with IBM’s Emerging Software Systems team based in IBM’s Watson Research Lab. According to IBM, this will build stronger ties between TCD and the company’s researchers in Ireland and the US, covering emerging technologies and innovation in digital media.

By Gordon Smith