4.6.1 Vice Chancellor
A meeting was held with UP's Vice Chancellor, Professor van Zyl, the
Director of the School of Information Technology, Professor Roode, and
the Head of the Computer Science Department, Professor Kourie. Once again
the ACM DL consortia was of great interest, especially ways of providing
this service efficiently to the region. In particular Professor van Zyl
emphasised the need to provide multi-disciplinary access to the DL. Furthermore,
the concept of a central visualisation facility was being considered to
further multi-disciplinary interaction. The delegation was also informed
about the SARA initiative, which is similar to CITI, providing an innovation
hub together with the network infrastructure. A number of start-up companies
have already taken advantage of SARA. This project is a joint UP-CSIR venture.
ACM DL consortia
contacting alumni about opportunities in Southern Africa
Professor van Zyl will pursue the DL consortia through the committee of
an institutional meeting will be held to encourage multi-disciplinary
where possible UP will provide their lists of alumni so they can be contacted
about the AFRIGRAPH reception at S2001
4.6.2 Department of Computer Science, Staff and Students
The presentation was given to a significant number of students. This
was followed by three demonstrations of VR work currently being undertaken
at UP, including virtual drumming (a paper on which has just been accepted
for Eurographics 2001), and two on encultured virtual environments: Ndebele
painting and access to a shebeen.
EVE (Encultured Virtual Environments)
Educator grant submissions for S2001 and student volunteers for S2002
Suggested submitting VR projects as sketches for SIGGRAPH/AFRIGRAPH.
5DT was the only virtual reality company that the delegation was able to
meet. 5DT's work focuses on VR Training systems and VR peripherals. 5DT
exhibited at S1999.
After giving the presentation to the CEO of 5DT, Paul Olckers, the delegation
was shown a number of demonstrations including: a head mounted display
system for training miners in the use of the Continuous Miner extraction
system; a Phobia treatment system for treating the fear of heights, darkness
and claustrophobia; the data glove which 5DT has developed; a fibre guided
video missile training system; and, a flight simulator.
5DT also mentioned that difficulty of retaining Southern Africa trained
computer science professionals within the region.
investigating new markets for their products
5DT to present at AFRIGRAPH
attendance at the proposed AFRIGRAPH reception at S2001
A dinner meeting was held with Mr Bongani Bunu and a colleague from
the Government's Department of Communications. Mr Bunu heads up Multimedia
projects and Telecommunications policy. Major issues were discussed including
encouraging young disadvantaged children to take up science and maths,
and tackling the large illiteracy problem in the country through adult
education. Lack of access to the internet is actually generating fear and
resentment amongst those without access. IT should be seen as an industry
vehicle for empowerment of previously disadvantaged people. The Houtek
initiative has been established near Cape Town to provide VR facilities
for vocational training.
wider internet access
computer graphics for teaching other subjects
Mr Bunu will be supplied with copies of the videos done at Caltech for
teaching basic mathematics
perhaps a paper or panel at AG2001 will be presented to consider widening
access to the Internet in the rural areas, using the examples of significant
access by farmers in the US because of on-line agricultural information,
and the use of internet cafes in rural Taiwan.
The National Research Foundation is the principal funding agency for
scientific research in South Africa. A primary goal is integrating research
with government and industry. The NRF is an adhering body for the ISCU
organisation, a government level research collaboration. As such they
2 years. Currently NRF has links with Mozambique, Nigeria, Italy, Sweden
and the Royal Society of the UK. Discussions were also held about ways
in which more graduates could be persuaded to stay on in the country and
undertake further postgraduate studies.
The NRF staff also acquainted the delegation with overall government
priorities in the technology area. The overal priority for South Africa
is to engage in capacity development. Information Technology has been identified
as a presidential focus area in this effort, so there was definite interest
in determining if and how computer graphics could contribute to these critical
efforts for the country.
visiting fellow programs
fostering international collaborations
assisting ``historically disadvantaged institutions'' in the region
offer to point to AFRIGRAPH from the NRF website
possible funding for students to attend AG2001
4.10 Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - icomtek and
The Satellite Application Centre (SAC) of the CSIR at Hartebeeshoek
hosted the delegation together with representatives from the CSIR's Information
and Communications Technology (icomtek) group. Icomtek is interested in
using visualisation for all aspects of basic education in Africa. The researcher
feel this visualisation is not of value unless it is culturally relevant.
The example they cited is of the ``taxi language'' which has evolved in
the region, where a simple gesture or position of the hand can convey to
(and from) the taxi driver rich information, including destination, time
of return etc. The SAC has a unique satellite data set of the region. That
they are using increasingly to visualise environmental impact studies.
encultured virtual environments
satellite conference photograph for AG2001
4.11 AFRIGRAPH2001 (AG2001) Committee Meeting
An AG2001 committee meeting was held at the CSIR facilities at Hartebeeshoek,
to which the delegation was invited. Not all the AG2001 committee were
in attendance. Full minutes are available upon request. The main issues
considered were changing the name of the organisation from SAGA to AFRIGRAPH
(to avoid conflicts with the South Africa Gun/Geophysical/Geriatrics
- and to be more inclusive of Africa by looking beyond Southern Africa),
and of the conference from SAGA2001 to AFRIGRAPH 2001, or AG2001 for short.
More inclusion of the local community was also discussed and this led to
the AGKids proposal where children in the local community will get to experience
some of the aspects of AG2001. Some felt that it was important to include
the recent Presidential Directives in the call for papers. It was also
felt that there should be a ``fun'' element as well, which led to the idea
of the African Graphics Showcase.
SAGA now known as AFRIGRAPH, SAGA2001 becomes AG2001
will be registered
AGkids will be organised at AG2001 to provide wider community access
mentoring will be introduced to encourage students to be involved in the
organisation of AG2001
African Graphics Showcase to premier all aspects of graphics design work
from the region
Art Show to be held at the event
A dinner meeting was held with three representatives from Wits and the
head of the Department of Computer Science at UNISA, Professor Paula Kotze.
The Wits people believe that network bandwidth is not the problem for obtaining
electronic material, such as the ACM DL, but rather it is the reliability
of the networks that is a problem. As a purely ``correspondence'' university,
UNISA with its 28,000 undergraduate computer science students has some
unique problems. They would like to see computer graphics become a bigger
part of their curriculum. There was also interest by both groups in being
part of the proposed ACM DL consortia.
A Not Uncommon Sight at Dinner
more reliable networks
bringing arts and science closer together
long distance learning of computer graphics and using computer graphics
Educator grant applications
possibly hosting the Travelling Art Show at Wits
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