SRU to host international Graphical Web Conference

pittsburgh skyline

Sept. 18, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University has the next big Web moment on its desktop - hosting the Sept. 23-26 International Graphical Web Conference in Pittsburgh.

The Graphical Web is an annual, global conference to showcase the many new open source technologies that have become available for presenting visual information on the web. The conference showcases best practice, new opportunities and future directions in the fast-changing world of web graphics. More than 100 professional and academic insiders from the Web design community will present the latest computer graphics, applications and animation for use on the Internet.

The conference theme is "The Graphical Web: Motion, Meaning, Stories, Standards, Pictures for Everyone." The conference will showcase the internal workings of the engines used to create advanced visualization for the Web.

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   WHITFIELD

"It's the inside scoop of what is going on behind the scene in browsers," said Deborah Whitfield, SRU professor of computer science.

SRU President Cheryl Norton will offer welcoming remarks.

Eric McAlpine and William Botzer, computer science majors from Greenock and Bethel Park, are the only undergraduates presenting. They and Whitfield will present "Data Visualization of Website Traffic."

"Basically, we animate how many users traverse a website ¬- moving from page to page - to show the amount of traffic pages get and the amount of traffic for a link," Whitfield said.

Whitfield and David Dailey, SRU professor of computer science, organized the conference. The first three days will be conference sessions with keynote talks from industry experts. The final day will offer training and workshops on the latest graphical web technologies for enriching storytelling on the Web.

Digital art presentation submissions came from around the world. "They're outstanding digital animations. They will be displayed on monitors during the conference so that attendees can view them at any time. For example, one of them is an intricate continuation animation of a fetus developing from a single egg. Besides the animation, there is detailed biological information," Whitfield said.

Participants will explore topics such as Web mapping, user interface, raw data, motion, changing colors, 2-D and 3-D visual concepts. This year's conference was expanded to include graphic art.

Some of the biggest names in the industry will have a presence there, including keynote speakers; Tom Patterson, senior cartographer at the U.S. National Park Service; Alex Danil, Google developer advocate; Vincent Hardy, director of engineering, design and publishing at Adobe; Erik Dahlstrom, a software developer for Opera Software and SRU's own Daily.

Adobe Systems, Inc., the computer software company based in San Jose, Calif., and creator of Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, is one of the sponsors. Google is a platinum sponsor. Media sponsors include the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C - a non-profit group of volunteers who create standards for browsers), the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Khronos Group.

Dailey, who has lectured in China and India and achieved notoriety on scalable vector graphics, began looking into SRU hosting the conference in 2007.

"In 2014, conference organizers asked if we, meaning SRU, would be willing to host the event and that put the ball in motion," he said. We began planning and realized we could host the event which brings together some of the most involved leaders in the industry if we brought the conference to Pittsburgh."

"After preliminary plans were in place, we reached out to the international and technology firms in Pittsburgh, including the Pittsburgh Technology Council and some venture capital firms, about their interest in hosting this international conference. Everyone quickly saw the potential and soon some majors sponsors began to fall in place."

Dailey will present on SVG, the graphical standard that is becoming widely adopted in the world of graphics. The system uses vectors rather than pixels to create graphics. By using SVG, images can be enlarged to any size without loss of clarity.

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   DAILEY

Dailey frequently uses the example of explaining how a postage stamp image can be enlarged to billboard size without distortion.

Dailey has written two books on the subject, "SVG Primer for Today's Browsers," and "Building Web Applications with SVG: Add Interactivity and Motion to Your Web Applications."

He said the conference is an exciting opportunity for students, professors and professionals.

"The Web changes so quickly. Technology moves so fast and so does the curriculum," he said. "It keeps us who teach the program on our toes."

James Valenti, an information technology major from Plum, said he has become intrigued with Web graphics by enrolling in "Intro to Web Graphics" this semester.

'I've really been enjoying the class, so I'm looking to delve a bit further and attend the conference to see what I can learn," he said. "Some of the things that people can create with graphics systems like SVG can be really interesting."

For a complete conference schedule, visit: http://graphicalweb.com/2015/registration.php?section=conference_speakers


MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu