Thomas A. DeFanti

Thomas A. DeFanti

Tom DeFanti (born 1948?) is an American computer graphics researcher and Director, EVL, and Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at the department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is an internationally recognized expert in computer graphics since the early 1970s. Thomas A. DeFanti (2007). [ "VR Experts around the World"] . In: "The International Journal of Virtual Reality". 2007, 6(3):56.]


DeFanti received a B.A. in Mathematics from Queens College in 1969, a M.S. in Computer Information Science from Ohio State University in 1970, and here three years later in 1973 a Ph.D. in Computer Information Science. He did his PhD work under Charles Csuri in the Computer Graphics Research Group. For his dissertation, he created the GRASS programming language.

In 1973, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In the next 20 years at the University, DeFanti has amassed a number of credits, including: use of EVL hardware and software for the computer animation produced for the Star Wars movie. With Daniel J. Sandin, he founded the Circle Graphics Habitat, now known as the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL). DeFanti contributed greatly to the growth of the SIGGRAPH organization and conference. He served as Chair of the group from 1981 to 1985, co-organized early film and video presentations, which became the Electronic Theatre, and in 1979 started the SIGGRAPH Video Review, a video archive of computer graphics research.

DeFanti is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. He has received the 1988 ACM Outstanding Contribution Award, the 2000 SIGGRAPH Outstanding Service Award, and the UIC Inventor of the Year Award.


DeFanti's research interests have included: virtual environments, digital libraries, scientific visualization, new methodologies for informal science and engineering education, paradigms for information display, televisualization (distributed graphics over networks), algorithm optimization for massively parallel computing, sonification, human/computer interfaces, and abstract mathematical visualization. [ Thomas A. DeFanti] Biography at University of Illinois at Chicago. Retrieved 8 July 2008.]

His current research interests are in: devices, applications, software, tele-immersion, networking, visualization, education, data mining, cultural heritage and supercomputing. [ [ Thomas A. DeFanti] website at Retrieved 8 July 2008.]

Electronic Visualization Laboratory

With Daniel J. Sandin, he founded the Circle Graphics Habitat, now known as the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL). Some of the significant work done at EVL includes development of the graphics system for the Bally home computer, co-editing the 1987 NSF-sponsored report "Visualization in Scientific Computing", invention of PHSColograms, and invention of the CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment.

Global Lambda Integrated Facility

In 2007 DeFanti is principal investigator of the NSF International Research Network Connections Program TransLight/StarLight award to UIC that provides a persistent 10 Gigabit networking infrastructure between the USA and Europe, and he is co-principal investigator of the NSF OptIPuter cooperative agreement with UCSD.

Striving for a more than a decade to connect high-resolution visualization and virtual reality devices over long distances, DeFanti has collaborated with Maxine Brown to lead state, national and international teams to build the most advanced production-quality networks available to scientists, with major NSF funding.

DeFanti is a founding member of GLIF, the Global Lambda Integrated Facility, a global group that manages international switched wavelength networks for research and education. In the USA, DeFanti established the 10 Gigabit Ethernet CAVEwave research network between EVL/StarLight, Seattle/Pacific Northwest GigaPop, and UCSD/Calit2 for OptIPuter and other national/international research uses, which is a model for future high-end science and engineering collaboration infrastructure.


Books, chapter in books, and article. A selection: [ [ bibliography: Thomas A. DeFanti] . Retrieved 8 July 2008.] [ [ Thomas A. DeFanti] . List of publications from the DBLP Bibliography Server.]
* 1987. "Visualization in Scientific Computing". Edited with Bruce H. McCormick and Maxine D. Brown. ACM Press.
* 1989. "Computer-Generated Barrier-Strip Autostereography". With others. In: "Proceedings of SPIE, Three-Dimensional Visualization and Display Technologies, S S Fisher|W E Robbins, 1083, 65-75, 09/01/1989 - 09/01/1989
* 1991. "Simulacra/Stimulacra::Fractal". With others. In: "Art Futura". 01/01/1991
* 1994. "Foreword", With Maxine D. Brown. In: "Scientific Visualization : Advances and challenges". Lawrence J. Rosenblum (ed.). Academic Press Academic Press, 1994. pp. xv-xvi.


External links

* [ Thomas A. DeFanti] website at

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