RENCI has the “touch” at SC08

CHAPEL HILL, December 8, 2008 — RENCI’S custom-built multi-touch table and holopanel display system piqued the interest of attendees at SC08, the international conference of high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis held Nov. 15-21 in Austin, TX.

The multi-touch table uses an architecture of commodity-level components and custom software to create a high-resolution interactive display for analyzing, visualizing and interacting with data. The system allows a group of users to intuitively interact with their data, applications and peripherals and manipulate visual representations of data using touch and gestures.

The table uses a rear projection display system with two times the resolution of high definition (1,920 x 2,160 pixels) and is capable of capturing 1,200-x 1,200-touch points from a single infrared camera at 30 frames per second. A 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon computer drives the system.

The holopanel, a clear panel hung from guide wires that bounces images from a projector to a hanging mirror to a screen embedded in the panel, was used for slide presentations and to showcase a variety of RENCI and North Carolina images.

RENCI’s visualization team touch-enabled several applications to demonstrate how to use the system, including the following:

  • Protein Interactions and Melanoma. A 3D visualization of research by Dr. William Kaufmann of the UNC School of Medicine showing interactions in yeast and worm protein structures and in a homologous human protein structure.
  • Biblio. This touch-enabled application shows worldwide usage of iBiblio, an Internet-based conservancy of freely available information, including software, music, literature, art, history, science, politics, and cultural studies that receives more than 15 million page views per day.
  • Electron Structure of Uranium. RENCI Research Scientist Jeffrey Tilson and Senior Visualization Researcher David Borland created this visual depiction of how both quantum mechanics and special relativity affect the motions of the outer, or valence, electrons in a Uranium atom.

For more information, visit the RENCI Visualization Group’s Multi-touch blog at

RENCI…Catalyst for Innovation
The Renaissance Computing Institute brings together teams of talented researchers, engineers, technologists and leaders in government, business, the arts and humanities to attack major research questions and community issues in ways that accelerate discovery and drive innovation. RENCI has nationally significant expertise and capabilities in high performance computing, visualization, collaborative tools, networking, device prototyping, and data systems as well as engagement sites across the state. Founded in 2004 as a major collaborative venture of Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the state of North Carolina, RENCI is a statewide virtual organization. For more, see