June 5, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
Dailey’s China tour instills new perspective on China
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – David Dailey, Slippery Rock University computer science and world-recognized expert on scalable vector graphics, returned to campus from a week’s lecture tour to China bringing with him a new perspective on community planning and technology growth.
The SRU professor addressed faculty and students at South China Normal University in Guangzhou and graduate students and employees at the Remote Sensing Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Dongguan as part of his visit.
“It was exciting and simultaneously interesting to see an area that had a population of about 2 million in 2002, now with a population of more than 12 million due in large measure to the growth of high tech,” he said.
Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton, is now China’s third largest city.
Dailey’s lectures focused on HTML5 computer language, which is SVG dependent.
SVG allows computer graphics to be handled by mathematical formulas so that an image can appear in focus and sharp on a small, handheld smart phone or on a huge electronic billboard without noticeable distortion.
“In fact, while in Shenzhen, I saw a 15-story high billboard that was actually a huge television screen. It was high resolution and vibrant with motion-quality video. I suspect the next step may be theatre movie screens that use the same technology,” he said.
Dailey was in China as part of an ongoing research project with Yan Li, a faculty member and associate dean at China’s South China Normal University. Li visited SRU as a research scholar in January 2011 working with Dailey and other SRU faculty. Her grant supported her U.S. tour and funding for Dailey’s China trip.
The two scholars are continuing talks on specific technology projects and on future exchange plans that could involve both Chinese and SRU students.
Li teaches computer science courses at SCNU and is director of the Spatial Information Research Center at her home university, which has a 28,000-student body. SCNU grants some 6,000 diplomas annually.
Dailey is the author of “An SVG Primer for Today's Browsers,” a book describing the standards now used throughout the Worldwide Web community. His work earned him SRU’s President’s Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement.
He said because most of the HTML5 and SVG research and standards writings have been in English, Chinese computer experts have been left out. “However, they are now taking those standards and making extensive use in their development in actual products,” he said.
“A big attraction for me was seeing the expansive economic growth of South China, where I spent most of my time. First, Shenzhen is a brand new city that is just across from Hong Kong. It is China’s first experiment with a free-market economy; and it is a highly successful experiment,” he said.
“South China is now booming, and Guangzhou, the center of the province, is leading the economic growth. Manufacturing, technology and trade are growing influences. I was told the province now accounts for 30 percent of the country’s foreign trade,” he said.
Dailey also lectured in Dongguan, just south of Guangzhou, a growing area for China’s IT economic sector. “It was farmland, but is now a city of 6 million people. It was decided to make this the information technology sector in South China and the Chinese Academy of Science invested to create new businesses in that economic area.”
“The town of Dongguan is still under construction. We stayed in a condominium there on a lake that is destined to be a vacation site for tourists. Everywhere you look there is construction,” Dailey said. “The amount of infrastructure, power lines, highways, airports is a homage to central planning because when they decided to do it, they do it.”
“It was a remarkable experience to see so much modernity; the number of high-rise buildings under construction. There were literally thousands of building cranes involved. I had heard of such construction in Shanghai, now the world’s largest city, but I did not realize how quickly South China was exploding,” he said.
“I read recently where experts expect that by 2030, 70 percent of the middle-class population of the world will live in China. If that is valid, it certainly gives you an idea of the amount of consumer technology being employed.”
“Everyone there has a smart phone or computer. There are more electronic displays in Guangzhou than in Manhattan. All of it is very high-tech and very glitzy. One gets the sense they are on top of what happening with new technology and are leading the rest of the world. Others built it, but they are putting it to use,” he said.
Dailey also had time for sightseeing in Hong King and on the Pearl River, and, because of a missed flight, had the opportunity to spend a day in Beijing.
His SVG expertise will take him to England next month to lecture at Kent University in Canterbury on mathematics related to diagrams using SVG. It will also take him to Switzerland in September for the SVG Open, sponsored in part by SRU as well as Microsoft, Google, Adobe and NVIDIA, a major manufacturer of computer graphics cards. He is a member of the event’s organizing committee.
SRU faculty and students have submitted papers for consideration at the Zurich conference, which will draw some 200 computer experts.
Dailey joined the SRU faculty in 1999. His research has taken him to Germany, Japan and India and has provide him guest lecture invitations to Harvard University, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control, Rice University and Apple Inc.'s headquarters.
He earned his masters degree at the University of Colorado after earning his bachelor of science degree at the University of New Mexico.
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