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Sept. 07, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU contingent heads to SVG Open

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - When The Graphical Web & SVG Open 2012 conference opens Sept. 11 in Zurich, Switzerland, Slippery Rock University's computer science department will be represented by a contingent of faculty and undergraduate students presenting their research and one delivering a keynote addresses.

Attending the Sept. 11-14 event hosted by the Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation on its Honggerberg campus, will be:

David Dailey and Deborah Whitfield, both SRU professors of computer science;

Jake Weidman, an information technology major from Pittsburgh;

Eric Elder, a computer science major from Slippery Rock; and;

Grant Denmead, an information systems major from Washington, Pa.

All five will be involved in presentations, with Dailey also serving as a keynote speaker, discussing "SVG and SVG Open - a Retrospective."

The conference will offer presentations and workshops on art and design, integrated Web experience, webapps and user interfaces, mapping, data visualization, 3D visualization and other uses of interactive open Web graphics.

"SVG Open, as it has been known, is keeping up with the times and is changing its name to include its graphic side," Dailey said. He said future conferences would carry "The Graphical Web" conference" name.

SRU is a silver sponsor for this year's conference with additional sponsorship provided by such well-known companies such as Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Adobe, Dailey said.

More than 150 experts on web-based graphics from around the world are expected to gather for the four-day conference.

"One of the primary focuses of the conference is to discuss the future of SVG," said Whitfield, who has attended three of the previous opens. "This is another great opportunity to keep up with developments in the field and to talk with other experts about the changes and the future of SVG."

"The big advantage of going to this conference is being able to discuss the brand new Web technology in computer science and learning how to better use the technology to further Web pages and websites by making them extremely interactive. I can bring the information directly back to my computer science classes," she said.

"And, I might note, SRU is the only university to send undergraduate students to present at the conference. This event draws top leaders in the industry from around the world," Whitfield said. "It is a great way to help increase information technology majors in our college, as well as increase interest in computer science."

SVG is a new graphic standard being adopted across the computing world. The SVG system uses mathematically formulated vectors rather than pixels to create and manipulate graphics. By using the system's scalable vectors, images can be enlarged, and animated, to any size without loss of clarity. Dailey frequently uses the example of explaining how a postage stamp image can be enlarged to billboard size without distortion.

Dailey, a recognized worldwide expert in SVG, wrote the computer users book of standards regarding SVG in computer programs. His first book, "SVG Primer for Today's Browsers," published by the World Wide Web Consortium in 2008, earned him the 2010 SRU President's Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement.

His latest book "Building Web Applications with SVG: Add Interactivity and Motion to Your Web Applications," published this summer by Microsoft Press, provides details on working with scalable vector graphics. The book is co-authored by Jon Forest, a senior .NET developer, and Domenico Strazzullo, author of Pergola, a JavaScript library for SVG and the open-source project GEMi.

"I am looking forward to hearing from Neil Trevett, president of the Cronos Foundation, and Vincent Hardy, a senior research scientist with Adobe Systems, at this year's conference," Dailey said. He has attended six open SVG conferences since their start in 1999.

Whitfield's presentation, undertaken with Weidman, Denmead and Dailey's is titled "Using Gravity to Navigate the Internet and Other Graphs."

"Part of our work has involved turning graphs, such as collections of interconnected webpages, into more usable information for the person exploring those pages. We are using what we call 'graph gravity' to aid in mapping Web pages and better linking the various pages within a website," Whitfield said.

"We want users to find all of the pages and all of the information they are seeking from a website. In education that will allow users to more easily find the information they want, and thus open a better opportunity to learn the material they are viewing," she said.

She likens the work to thinking of a company's executive hierarchical staff chart, with the behind-the-scenes SVG linking all functions for easy access. "Overall it will aid in navigating the website," she said.

Dailey and Elder will present "Declarative Randomness for Scene Drawing in SVG," which involves improving graphics on the Web.

"Our paper proposes ways to incorporate randomness into the SVG specification which will be used to generate artificial scenes in animation. For example if the backdrop in an animated video is a random forest, rather than having a painter paint in the forest in each scene, by using SVG the background, would be generated randomly using pre-determined limits," Dailey said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.