NCSA's Donna Cox to Give Keynote Address at SC2003 Conference in Phoenix

CHAMPAIGN, ILL. — Attendees at the upcoming SC2003 conference will glimpse the future of scientific advancement through the eyes of an artist during this year's keynote address. Donna Cox - both an acclaimed artist and a senior research scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — will examine the fusion of high technology and high creativity to produce innovative solutions to the challenges of our age.

SC2003, the international conference on high-performance computing and networking, will be Nov. 15-21 in Phoenix with the theme "Igniting Innovation." Cox's keynote, entitled “Beyond Computing: The Search for Creativity,” will be presented Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 8:30 a.m.

"We’re delighted to have Donna kicking off the technical program," said SC2003 Conference Chair James McGraw, deputy director of the Institute for Scientific Computing Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "The intersection of technology and art represented by her work and in her talk embodies our mission to spur creative thinking."

A renowned expert on computer visualization, Cox is a professor in the University's School of Art and Design and heads NCSA's Experimental Technologies Division. She has authored many papers and monographs on computer graphics, information design, education, and scientific visualization and has exhibited computer images and animations in more than 100 invitational and juried exhibits. Her animations of scientific data have appeared on international television, including episodes of NOVA, Discovery Channel documentaries, CNN, and NBC Nightly News.

In 1997, Cox and coworker Robert Patterson, a visualization programmer at NCSA, earned an Oscar nomination for their work on the IMAX film "Cosmic Voyage." "Cosmic Voyage" was the first IMAX film to use data-driven supercomputer simulations instead of special effects to demonstrate scientific concepts. In 2000, Cox, Patterson, and another co-creator received a U.S. patent for technology developed during the making of “Cosmic Voyage.” Cox's team also developed data-driven scientific visualizations for the HDTV Nova/WGBH show "Runaway Universe," which received the 2002 Golden Camera, International Film and Video Festival award.

"Both technology and art require leaps of imagination," Cox said, "and they certainly can enhance and support one another. Scientific visualizations, human-computer interfaces, text and image data mining – these are some of the themes that cut across both the sciences and the humanities. Including a broad range of disciplines in high-performance computing will enrich discovery and expand the applications of technology."

Cox has exhibited computer art in international exhibitions, including a one-woman show at the Arts in the Academy, a program of the National Academy of Sciences, in Washington D.C. Her most famous collaborative works include the first visualization of the NSFnet, “A Visualization Study of Network Growth & Traffic From 1986 to 1992,” which has become an icon of the early Internet. Her collaborative work has been reviewed or published in Newsweek, Time, National Geographic, the Wall Street Journal, Science News, the New York Times, The Scientist, The Chronicle of Higher Education, EDUCOM, Cinescape, IEEE Communications magazine, Computer Graphics World, and Discover magazine.

Recent projects include supercomputer visualizations for the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. In June 2002, the Discovery Channel program, "Unfolding Universe," premiered nearly 20 scenes of scientific visualizations produced by Cox and her collaborators.

The IntelliBadge smart tracking technology developed by Cox's NCSA research group was one of the hits of SC2002 in Baltimore. In a unique fusion of radio frequency tracking technology, data mining, and real-time visualizations, IntelliBadge was used to compile information about conference participants and to allow them to view the evolution of the conference, find useful information, track conference statistics, and locate and join groups.

About NCSA
NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) is a national high-performance computing center that develops and deploys cutting-edge computing, networking and information technologies. Located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, NCSA is funded by the National Science Foundation. Additional support comes from the state of Illinois, the University of Illinois, private sector partners and other federal agencies. For more information, see

About SC2003
SC2003 highlights the most innovative developments in high-performance computing and networking, bringing together scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, programmers, system administrators and managers. Now in its 16th year, the SC conference is sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture. See for more information.