Lecturer and researcher
Director of the Bachelor Informatica at UvA
I'm a visual thinker. Most of my professional interests revolve around graphics and visualization, always with the purpose to invoke a "aha!" experience with people.
In education we sometimes find subjects and concepts that are difficult to teach using conventional teaching methods. These may for example be difficult to imagine, while others may be too dangerous or too expensive to study in real life. These subjects can benefit from teaching modules that use VR and/or AR as the way to communicate these subjects.
Here are some examples:
Using 3D models provided to us by the Department Medical Biology at Amsterdam UMC, we built an AR app to interactively explore the data from the 3D Atlas of Human Embryology. This application provides an unprecedented educational tool to study the development of the human embryo with little more than a modern smartphone.
In one of the projects for my course on Scientific Visualization and Virtual Reality, I had students create an Augmented Reality app to study the anatomy of a frog, using the "WholeFrog" dataset. The objective was to create an intuitive application that would allow students to study the frog's anatomy using just their smartphone and a printed marker. The application had to have interaction facilities by which specific tissue types could be selectively made (in)visible.
Molecular symmetry is a fundamental concept in chemistry to understand the chemical properties of a molecule. Conventional teaching methods use special notations to represent the spatial arrangement of a molecule, but these can be hard to interpret. Other methods use physical models, but these are not always available to students. For his bachelor graduation project in 2017, Rob Kunst developed an Augmented Reality application for smartphones that uses marker recognition to interactively explore the symmetrical properties of a molecule.
In 2015, Tessa Klunder created a VR environment for children to teach them the fundamentals of programming. The application put them in a robot placed in a virtual maze that could only be escaped by programming the robot to escape the maze. The children would solve increasingly more difficult mazes until they eventually implement the right-hand rule wall follower algorithm to exit any maze. (thesis)
In 2015, Iulia Ionescu created a reproduction of the large lecture hall (C1.110) of the Faculty of Science at Science park. The VR application allowed her to place a virtual audience in the lecture hall to help train students with a fear of presenting in front of a large audience. Iulia compared the effect of her application on people presenting in the virtual lecture hall with those presenting in the real lecture hall. (thesis)
International research projects and other nifty stuff I have worked on.
DynaNets was an EU FP7 FET Open project that studied complex systems through dynamically changing networks. My involvement in this project is Twilight; a high-performance interactive visualization application to graphically explore dynamic networks.
UrbanFlood studied the use of sensors within flood embankments to support an online early warning system, real time emergency management and routine asset management. My work in this projects involved the design and implementation of a decision support system for use in emergency situations.
ACGT was an EU FP6 Integrated Project that studied how high-performance computing facilities provided over Grid infrastructures could facilitate post-genomics research, clinical trials and simulation techniques. I was involved in the development of tools for the visualization of clinical data from simulation predictions as well as the Grid Interface and applications.
The Virtual Laboratory for eScience (VL-e) was a Dutch project to enhance scientific research through grid-technology, financed by a BSIK grant from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OC&W). I coordinated a subprogramme on grid applications for medical imaging and diagnostics. This research consisted of partners from academia and industry, including AMC, VUmc, Philips Research, Philips Medical Systems and IBM.
I was a Computer Science guest lecturer for students from four Amsterdam high schools: Fons Vitae, Ignatius, Montessori and Sint Nicolaas. Together with high school teachers we created teaching material to stimulate student interest in Computer Science, which certainly helped because a significant number later enlisted at a university! Final-year students worked on a Big Computer Science Project which, during a final demonstration, were graded by UvA professors Lynda Hardman, Harry Buhrman and Paul Klint. The Dutch website Leraar24 created a video of the event that took place in 2011 (in Dutch).
For SuperComputing 2008 (SC08) in Austin, TX, we designed and built a multi-touch surface display to demonstrate an application that allows interactive monitoring and control of a programmable computer network. This work was done in collaboration with Laurence Muller, Paul Melis, Rudolf Strijkers and the System and Network Engineering (SNE) group at UvA.
Together with Simon Portegies Zwart and Jeroen Bédorf we worked on a GPU implementation of a direct gravitational N-body simulation for astrophysics simulations, implemented in NVIDIA's CUDA. This work attracted quite a lot of attention, which resulted in spin-offs to e.g. molecular dynamics simulations. The New Astronomy paper we wrote about this work got a "Top Cited Article 2005-2010" award from Elsevier.
For SuperComputing 2004 (SC04) in Pittsburgh and iGrid 2005 in San Diego we developed an Augmented Reality demonstration for the co-located visualization of virtual objects over physical objects. We showed how a low-performance handheld tablet PC could be used to inspect a CT scan of a panther cub contained in a glass jar filled with ethanol, which is why it became known as "the dead cat demo". This work was a proof-of-concept demonstration for the VL-e project to show that it is possible to create a highly interactive visual experience using high-speed networks and high-performance remote visualization resources.
My PhD research was on the use of interactive virtual environments for decision support. Much of this took place in a CAVE installed at SARA, Amsterdam. As one of the test cases, we built a virtual operating theatre to simulate vascular reconstruction. This environment combines interactive visualisation of patient-specific vascular image data with a flow simulation environment into a virtual operating theatre in which vascular reconstruction procedures can be simulated. We use a lattice Boltzmann flow simulation technique to simulate blood flow through human vascular geometry, the results of which are visualized so that a vascular surgeon can interactively explore alternative treatments for a patient. The idea is that a vascular surgeon uses these simulation results to form a decision on which treatment could be best for a patient.
Courses that I teach.
If you're a company and you are interested in our students, then please submit a research project proposal.
Certainly not intended as an exhaustive list (there aren't enough icons for that), more to give you an idea about what makes me tick.