The Wiegand Advanced Visualization Environment (WAVE) is an innovative and boundary-breaking research facility, serving as a hub for interdisciplinary projects that converge intensive computational problems with the capacity for immersive visualization of complex data sets. WAVE's vision is to combine a start-of-the-art computing facility (WAVE HPC), with a laboratory of cutting-edge visualization technology (WAVE + Imaginarium), to create a comprehensive toolset that fosters the highest-quality basic and applied research, while enabling cross-disciplinary collaborations throughout the university.
Background: Computation and Visualization
Computation, big-data analysis, and data visualization have become pillars of most scientific and technical fields. Once the domain of disciplines like physics and computer science, the ability to crunch ever-more-massive data sets has made computational approaches broadly relevant across the continuum of scientific discovery, analysis, and engineering design. Computational approaches are driving important breakthroughs, transforming how we approach fundamental technological, scientific, and engineering problems.
For the sciences, computational approaches are spreading across disciplines like molecular biology, ecology, environmental science, and neuroscience. In these fields, the ability to collect massive amounts of data is making computational analysis and data visualization techniques fundamental skillsets. It is also opening the door to deeper collaborations with arts, humanities, and social sciences departments on a variety of interdisciplinary projects.
For engineering, computational simulations and models are vital in creating a future that addresses the problems of today, for example making structures more resilient to earthquakes, modeling the hydrological effects of environmental change, or determining the most efficient ways to manage power on a distributed smart grid.
As data become more complex, effective visualization techniques are increasingly imperative to help scientists and engineers evaluate and communicate their findings to colleagues and the general public.
To address this need, Santa Clara University in 2018 launched a campus wide initiative to create:
A computation and immersive visualization facility that catalyzes
groundbreaking interdisciplinary research at the nexus between
discovery and innovation.
Though a generous grant from the E. L. Wiegand Foundation, the Wiegand Advanced Visualization Environment was born.
WAVE High Performance Computing (HPC) Center
The WAVE High Performance Computing (HPC) Center is a state-of-the-art computing facility serving the teaching and research computational needs of the Santa Clara University community. Comprised a cluster of high-performance computing servers, large data storage and a high speed interconnect, the WAVE HPC is the central high performance computing facility available for the entire university community. Today faculty and students use the HPC for board range of compute intensive research and course curriculum, including; computer simulation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, distributed parallel computing, as well as data visualization.
WAVE + Imaginarium Lab
In 2021 the WAVE Visualization Lab merged with the Imaginarium Lab to form a single central lab at SCU focused on Virtual Reality, Digital Arts and Data Visualization. The new combined WAVE + Imaginarium Lab is a collaborative and interdisciplinary space dedicated to mixed reality (VR, AR, mixed reality), data visualization, digital art, and game design. The lab's mission is to create a space where students and faculty can leverage immersive art, data visualization, and human interaction to create projects that emphasize social responsibility, collaboration, and engagement.