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Argonne’s Transportation Research and Analysis Computing Center (TRACC) Expands Outreach for Collaboration

Argonne, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), established the Transportation Research and Analysis Computing Center (TRACC). This state-of-the-art modeling, simulation and high performance computing center is located at the DuPage National Technology Park in West Chicago, Illinois. The TRACC high-performance computing environment allows transportation researchers and collaborators to develop very large and detailed simulations and high-tech models of a variety of different transportation-related systems, components, and elements.

Through a partnership agreement with the University of Illinois, advanced visualization and communications capabilities are being made available to TRACC users and collaborators. The TRACC Collaboratory can enrich the meeting experience for all participants. Events requiring both video/audio and data among geographically distributed participants are prime applications for the technologies housed at TRACC. The venue can be the TRACC Collaboratory and can also include distributed sites. Broadband connectivity provides the opportunity to utilize available technologies to collaborate with remote clients, colleagues and partners regionally and globally without having to physically travel to one specific site, thus making efficient use of time and travel.

The integration and deployment of multiple advanced visualization and communication technologies is unique to the TRACC Collaboratory. This capability allows the TRACC Collaboratory to offer dialogues, remote collaboration, formal courses and professional events including distributed meetings and workshops.

TRACC Collaboratory staff work with users to determine the appropriate technological solutions for the optimal meeting experience. The staff will develop the technical requirements for the participating sites and will assist in identifying and enabling sites available to participate in events.

Examples of hosted events include:

  • Training classes: Transportation research applications produce education and training materials that are valuable to share among collaborators. The TRACC Collaboratory is equipped to service this need using the communication technologies resident in the facility. Examples of training classes previously hosted include: transportation simulation, computational structural mechanics, and computational fluid dynamics. The instructor and students attended at TRACC, and remote students participated from their computers and web browsers. The technology employed is Adobe Acrobat Connect. Using the TRACC Collaboratory for technology transfer is a cost-effective way to disseminate information.
  • Meetings: : There is often a need for regular meetings among collaborators. Through the technologies available, TRACC can serve as a host site connecting distributed participants. Both video and data can be shared among participants. Examples of meetings hosted by TRACC include: project updates, quarterly reviews, monthly staff meetings, and seminars. Technology often employed is H.323 videoconferencing.
  • Conferences/Workshops: The conference may have several sites participating; speakers and presentations may be at any of the sites. TRACC hosted a TRANSIMS workshop allowing researchers to meet virtually and share research project information. This conference had four sites (Louisiana, Illinois, New York and Virginia) and used the AccessGrid technology.

The TRACC Collaboratory offers expanded outreach, training, collaboration, visualization and technology enablement services to users, collaborators and USDOT partners. Conference and meeting areas are equipped with state of the art audiovisual, videoconferencing capabilities, as well as high resolution visualization stations for use in collaborative research sessions.

  • The training area offers seating and workspace for twenty people, along with a 15’x18’ rear-projection display wall.
  • The conference and meeting area similarly provides a 15’ x 18’ rear-projection screen.
  • The enclosed conference room seats up to twenty people and is equipped with two front-projection screens.

High resolution visualization stations include:

  • LambdaVision, is a high-performance graphics cluster with a 20 panel LCD tile display (8000 x 4800 pixel resolution) optimized for visual simulation and high speed broadband connectivity. LambdaVision is available for use by transportation researchers (any application that benefits from parallel processing is likely to benefit from utilization of the graphics cluster and advanced visualization capabilities).
  • The GeoWall Passive Stereo Display Station is a passive stereo virtual reality display station for visualizing three-dimensional data sets. The GeoWall provides a two projector immersive environment and can be used for applications such as viewing the latest design of a car or dispersion models of the urban environment.
  • The High Definition Stereo Visualization Theater utilizes a dual HD projector (1920x1080 pixels) passive stereo display system for running interactive applications in High Definition stereo.

Argonne brings the world's brightest scientists and engineers together to find exciting and creative new solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. Contact Jared Sagoff at jsagoff@anl.gov (630-252-5823) for more information on TRACC, or visit http//www.tracc.anl.gov