Off into virtual worlds
Fascination Earth: The model by Prof. Dr. Bunge (LMU), in cooperation with the V2C of the LRZ, visualises the history of the Earth and the formation of the continents and can be marvelled at in Mozilla Hubs.
The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) is expanding further into the virtual worlds (https://www.lrz.de/presse/ereignisse/2020-12-21-LRZ-in-virtual-worlds/). For the international supercomputing fair SC21 and for the Hi!A Festival, which will present research and art projects online and throughout Bavaria until the end of 2021, the specialists of the Centre for Virtual Reality and Visualisation (V2C) at the LRZ have set up additional rooms in the Mozilla Hubs. Here they will present exciting research results online. Using a notebook or smartphone, or even special virtual reality (VR) glasses, visitors can explore current projects, innovative science, the SuperMUC-NG and future technology projects.
Presenting art, science and technology
In addition to the Bavarian art treasure Bavarikon, – a digitization project for paintings, sculptures and other art objects – the new rooms primarily deal with natural and environmental sciences as well as medicine: For the European Cluster of Excellence CompBioMed, a partner of the LRZ, researchers throughout Europe are developing techniques and algorithms to digitise treatment methods and to accelerate the search for new medicines. Above all, however, they want to use supercomputers to build the Virtual Human. CompBioMed has taken a big step forward in this direction: With the help of the V2C at LRZ, the blood flow in the human forearm has now been visualised. Along the way, software and programmes have been created that can be used to visualise the blood flow to other organs and body parts more easily and quickly. The High-Performance Computing or HPC and visualization experts are already brooding over the representation of blood flows in the brain. This work can now be experienced and viewed in the Mozilla Hubs in multimedia form with images, sound and text.
Visitors to the LRZ-Mozilla Hubs can also experience the formation of the earth and the continents in an equally lively and easy-to-understand way: Geophysicist Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Bunge from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) has built a model that shows the convection currents deep inside the Earth and how the alternation between rising hot and cooled magma formed the Earth's plates. Take a look for yourselves.
MOOSAIk, on the other hand, is a project that uses augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) to provide information about ecological relationships in the environment. Those who visit the space created for this purpose in the Mozilla Hubs of the LRZ are greeted with birdsongs and can get to know the flora and fauna of a moss landscape. Things get more technical at SuperMUC-NG: Flying over the cabinets and racks of the Garching supercomputer is an experience. If you want to know more about the further development of SuperMUC-NG and its phase 2, you can read here about smart technology and artificial intelligence, but above all how quantum computing, will change HPC. The future of computing has already begun.
Experience virtually with all senses
Mozilla built its virtual world, the Hubs platform, back in 2018. Start-ups, companies or game makers like Linden Lab, Facebook, VR Chat, Open Simulator or Vircadia are also working on similar VR worlds. Facebook is just pushing forward with Meta and now wants to further accelerate the use of virtual worlds and advance them with the help of new VR glasses. Unlike Meta, however, Mozilla's platform is open, data-friendly and accessible without a personal account; it also does not require any additional hardware or software to visit the rooms there or to continue building them. With Spoke, Mozilla nevertheless offers an open-source programme for designing rooms and interiors. All good reasons why the LRZ is building on this virtual world.
Corona, or rather the pandemic-related closures, have brought institutions like the LRZ 2020 into the virtual worlds. The academic computing centre has not only set up rooms for research projects in the Mozilla Hubs 2020, but also a Christmas market and a beer garden. These now invite visitors to look around and can be used as innovative online meeting places: Anyone who wants to can arrange to meet friends via the corresponding link and discuss and talk. If more groups meet here at the same time, there is a real sense of community because their conversations produce a lifelike soundscape. So, it's no wonder why the LRZ relies on virtual worlds: they allow people to marvel at research and technology and also offer the opportunity to meet other people - a good platform to complement on-site and online offerings and to expand them virtually.
Fancy a tour?
You have several options for entering the virtual worlds of the LRZ: Through the hexagonal lobby you can access quite a few rooms where research projects are presented. Meanwhile, there is another entrance - greener, with stairs and a jungle feeling. From here you can reach mainly science project rooms:
SuperMUC-NG has also been replicated in the Mozilla Hubs. Fly once over the facility or better through the alleys between the computer cabinets, which can get as hot as a sauna in normal everyday life.
Want some art? Then drop by Bavarikon and discover cultural treasures from Bavaria:
The Corpus of Baroque Ceiling Painting in Germany (CbDD) makes it possible to discover even more art and many details from the Baroque period on ceiling paintings. The project is also represented at Mozilla Hubs with two rooms: the Emperor's Hall of the new Bamberg Residence and the Lusthaus:
Take a break? Have a beer and chat with friends about what you have seen - the LRZ beer garden invites you to do so:
The journey of discovery continues in the Mozilla Hubs - Virtual Human shows how the digital twin is preparing medical practice for the future.
In the biosphere of MOSAAIK, kibitzes stop to discover herbs and flowers.
Further on into the earth's interior, to the hot magma currents, to experience earth history in fast motion
Almost reaching the end of the tour: Finally, a stroll through the atmospheric LRZ Christmas market with its pretty huts. The lights are already burning on the Christmas tree