I am originally from the South Bronx, New York. I left to study mathematical and computational sciences at Stanford University in California. After graduating, I was employed by the former Stanford University Center for Information Technology where I worked on large scale data management and integration problems in a variety of fields. My last project there involved joint research with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, California), the United States Department of Energy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (Gaithersburg, Maryland).
My expertise was well-regarded by NIST so I returned to the east coast to work at the institute where my research had two distinct periods: pre- and post-11 September 2001.
My early work involving advanced structural ceramics, high-temperature superconducting materials, fractography, and phase equilibria diagrams exposed problems with interpretation and interoperability of materials information exchanged via the web. To address these issues, I formed and led an international consortium that included: universities; national laboratories; professional societies; standards organizations; and aerospace, automotive, and measurement instrument manufacturers. The effort resulted in the development of MatML, a concise, comprehensive, and broadly-applicable extensible markup language (XML) for materials. MatML can be used to describe any material and its properties from nano- to macro-scale and includes flexible extensible information models for: chemical characterization and processing; measurement methodology techniques and conditions; graphical data; physical characteristics including crystallography; and the full range of mechanical, electrical, chemical, optical, and thermal properties.
My later research shifted to information modelling in the building and fire sciences with specific application to homeland security. Half of my time involved a collaborative effort with indoor air quality scientists and engineers to illustrate MatML-encoding of contaminant emissions concentrations and transfer rates to be used in computer simulations of indoor air flow under varying building conditions.
The balance of my time involved analysis of information models for a specific subset of mechanical building services. Modern high-rise buildings contain sophisticated automation and control computer networks. There are various building information models for communicating with such networks and my research involved harmonizing model components relevant to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) automation and control. The goal of the research was to develop a complete and consistent representation of HVAC information that could be used in simulations examining how to contain and mitigate chemical, biological, and radiological threats to first responders and building residents.
During my years at NIST, I experimented with applying virtual reality (VR) to scientific information. A virtual world is a simulation generated by one or more computers running programs that manipulate mathematical models. These models, representing objects and their behaviors, are rendered for display into scenes. A visitor to the virtual world uses a software application called a viewer to enter, explore, and communicate within the scenes and is represented graphically as an avatar.
The visitor's brain interprets these virtual stimuli as if the avatar were truly immersed in a three dimensional environment. Neuropsychological studies indicate that neuron excitation patterns are very similar when viewing real objects and their virtual counterparts. By leveraging this aspect of the brain's pliancy, the virtual world becomes a powerful tool for representing, sharing, and experiencing information.
I did a broad survey of other virtual world projects within the federal scientific and technical community. As a researcher involved with scientific information modelling in a laboratory setting, many types of VR applications seem possible to me. I am especially intrigued by the potential for representing and managing scientific and technical data.
I eventually left NIST in order to pursue my interest in virtual reality and now serve as director of "The Antheia Project: A Virtual Garden of Beauty, Solace, Science, and Education." The project aims to build a vast technobiophilia-centered simulation of potentially thousands of gardens around the globe. For an overview, please see: "The Antheia Project: A Virtual Garden of Beauty, Solace, Science, and Education."
Recognition and Awards
Curriculum vitae available upon request.