Leading-edge technologies enhance study and research
Inspiration for innovation often springs from the unlikeliest sources that are right in front of us. Clemson faculty and students are always up for the discovery.
A re-purposed swimming pool is providing students the opportunity to
Successful learning and student retention are perks of interactive sandbox classroom
A room that once housed a beloved but antiquated indoor swimming pool is now a hub of technology that has boosted interaction and retention rates sky high. The sandbox classroom accommodates up to 90 students at 10 round tables equipped with power, Internet and video connections, and Tablet-PCs. The instructor’s station is equipped with a Sympodium that allows for writing with digital ink on the computer screen.
The classroom is dubbed a sandbox because instructors and their students from across curricula explore the use of technology in teaching and learning with an adventurous and curious spirit. Students say the immediate feedback and interaction with the instructor has helped them grasp difficult concepts more readily.
Instructors using the classroom have noticed a decline in low grades and withdrawals, especially in freshman engineering and mathematics classes. In fact, retention in the general engineering program — one of the most frequent ‘players’ in the sandbox — is at a 10-year high.
Architecture students harness unused computer capacity to create 3-D renderings
Creating three-dimensional architectural renderings from blueprints requires a tremendous amount of computing power. Or, lacking that, a paper bag with a “Do Not Disturb” message to place over the computer while the machine labors away at the task.
Clemson architecture students creating 3-D renderings of their designs no longer need the bag. They can harness the unused capacity of hundreds of machines in student computer labs across campus and do the job in a fraction of the time.
“Because every frame of the rendering is an independent calculation, it’s possible to distribute the individual frame calculations across a large number of processors at once,” says Jill Gemmill, Clemson’s executive director of cyberinfrastructure technology integration. “Then when all the frames get done, it all gets pulled back together and the student can download the end results.”
With a High-Throughput Computing system known as Condor, Clemson Computing and Information Technology created a pool of 750 machines, which can execute more than 2,200 jobs simultaneously, using student computer labs. Condor software also has been installed on the Palmetto Cluster, the campus supercomputer, to take full advantage of its 772 nodes, each of which has eight processors.
While a few other universities are making use of the Condor system’s capabilities, only Clemson has a user interface designed specifically for architecture students.
Clemson digital production arts graduates help win Oscar
Digital production arts is synonymous with innovation at Clemson, and graduates are heading to Hollywood to prove it. Dozens of technically savvy, artistically talented graduates have been tapped to work on major film productions that feature animation and special effects –– some of which have garnered Oscar nods.
“The Golden Compass” snagged an Oscar in 2008 for visual effects and featured numerous Clemson digital artists on the project, including Rachel Drews. “My degree in digital production arts at Clemson gave me the technical and production knowledge base, as well as the connection to the people in the VFX industry,” she says.
With 3,000 square feet of studio space for major motion picture quality animation and effects, including video editing and sound booths, Clemson’s digital arts program features state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure that is the envy of many Hollywood studios. The program offers a master of fine arts in digital production arts, and graduates are frequently hired for major motion picture animation jobs at studios located in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco and Hollywood.
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