Blue Sky Studios Donating Animation Computers To Wesleyan

Last week, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell announced that the fine people at Blue Sky Studios are donating animation equipment to University of Connecticut and Wesleyan.  The high-speed animation computers are racks with 104 CPUs each. Each rack is valued at about $35,000 and Wesleyan is getting 4(!) of them (UConn is getting 2 4 racks total). From the articles I’ve seen, the computers will be going to the Computer Science department (on a personal note… awesome!!! ).
ice_age_2

Blue Sky (a wholly owned subsidiary of Fox Filmed Entertainment) has produced Ice Age, Robots, Ice Age, Horton Hears a Who, and Ice Age (in theaters now). The company recently relocated from New York to Greenwich and is apparently doing the whole company-giving-back-to-the-not-so-local-community thing (good for them… and us!).

Seeing how there are no Computer Science graphics or animation courses currently scheduled, we’ll have to wait to see how the computers will be used for courses – I imagine they will want to put the computers to use as soon as possible. We’ll also see if they are used in the film department’s animation course.

If I hear anything from the Comp Sci (or Film?) department, an update will come. For now though, here is some optional reading (isn’t the summer such an exciting time of year?):
StamfordPlus
UConn’s President’s Blog

[Thanks to Google News and the sidebar for the tip]

[Edit: Comment #6 points out that UConn’s drama and CS are getting 2 EACH. So 4 total. Fixed.]

31 thoughts on “Blue Sky Studios Donating Animation Computers To Wesleyan

  1. Anonymous

    11: There’s an 3D animation class in the film department that uses Maya. It was taught last semester and will be taught again next semester.

  2. Anonymous

    11: There’s an 3D animation class in the film department that uses Maya. It was taught last semester and will be taught again next semester.

  3. Anon wut

    I think the science departments would have a lot of use for a rack or two spread across departments.

    You need a heckuva lotta computing power to do some of molecular modeling and calculations that some labs in the chem and mbb department do.

    In any event, I hope that they’re all put to good use asap. It’ll be so stupid if they sit around for months before being put to use.

  4. Anon wut

    I think the science departments would have a lot of use for a rack or two spread across departments.

    You need a heckuva lotta computing power to do some of molecular modeling and calculations that some labs in the chem and mbb department do.

    In any event, I hope that they’re all put to good use asap. It’ll be so stupid if they sit around for months before being put to use.

  5. Anonymous

    Depends on the spec’s of the machines.

    If they are highly specialized SGI machines for 3D rendering, then people’ll probably use them for their original purpose, animation.

    But, if they are simply general purpose Linux clusters; they can be pretty much modded and integrated onto Wesleyan’s high-performance computing cluster (where they have like 100+ nodes on 2 racks as well).

    Currently, computational intensive projects at Wesleyan include:

    Beveridge’s Computational MD Simulations
    Starr’s Computational Physics Simulations

    Ironically, I don’t think any CS faculty members will use the racks because Wesleyan CS is all theoretical. But my knowledge could be dated since I graduated in ’08.

  6. Anonymous

    Depends on the spec’s of the machines.

    If they are highly specialized SGI machines for 3D rendering, then people’ll probably use them for their original purpose, animation.

    But, if they are simply general purpose Linux clusters; they can be pretty much modded and integrated onto Wesleyan’s high-performance computing cluster (where they have like 100+ nodes on 2 racks as well).

    Currently, computational intensive projects at Wesleyan include:

    Beveridge’s Computational MD Simulations
    Starr’s Computational Physics Simulations

    Ironically, I don’t think any CS faculty members will use the racks because Wesleyan CS is all theoretical. But my knowledge could be dated since I graduated in ’08.

  7. Anon

    We ahh… don’t actually have a “Computer Science” department. And the closest thing we have to 3D rendering is probably Prof. Jokl’s Digital Media class, which is (was?) not that advanced. My guess is that these will be re-purposed to do some serious number crunching.

  8. Anon

    We ahh… don’t actually have a “Computer Science” department. And the closest thing we have to 3D rendering is probably Prof. Jokl’s Digital Media class, which is (was?) not that advanced. My guess is that these will be re-purposed to do some serious number crunching.

  9. Sam

    Danner’s on sabatical this spring, so there’s almost certainly not going to be a graphics course.

    We’ll have to wait and see what happens. I don’t do graphics work, but this kind of computing power would have been useful last semester.

  10. Anonymous

    Probably worth while to point out that while they *were* used to render and do animation, that doesn’t mean they *will* be used to do so.

    I’d not get too excited about render farms, animation, or anything of the like – for all we know they could be used for serving out Wesleyan blogs.

  11. Anonymous

    Probably worth while to point out that while they *were* used to render and do animation, that doesn’t mean they *will* be used to do so.

    I’d not get too excited about render farms, animation, or anything of the like – for all we know they could be used for serving out Wesleyan blogs.

  12. Anonymous

    “UConn’s drama and computer science engineering departments are each receiving two racks” so UConn is getting four racks as well, no?

  13. Anonymous

    “UConn’s drama and computer science engineering departments are each receiving two racks” so UConn is getting four racks as well, no?

  14. Anonymous

    It seems like it wouldn’t be as great a donation if Wes had to spend money paying a new prof… yeah?

  15. Anonymous

    It seems like it wouldn’t be as great a donation if Wes had to spend money paying a new prof… yeah?

  16. Anonymous

    I don’t think Danner was planning on doing graphics next year, but we’ll see. Do you think the dept. might be expanding?

  17. Anonymous

    I don’t think Danner was planning on doing graphics next year, but we’ll see. Do you think the dept. might be expanding?

  18. David Post author

    I’m fairly certain Professors Lipton, Krizanc, and Rice do not do any graphics work, so that leaves Professors Aaron and Danner. To my knowledge, Prof Aaron doesn’t do anything too graphics intensive (though he does do work that requires simulations, its not work that is about graphics). Prof Danner has taught graphics courses in the past, but not in his research. He works with functional programming languages and the TOR network. Maybe they are looking to add another element to the department?

  19. Anonymous

    Very cool! Anyone familiar with the department know if there are any faculty members experienced with this kind of stuff? They’ll need someone to teach it…

  20. Anonymous

    Very cool! Anyone familiar with the department know if there are any faculty members experienced with this kind of stuff? They’ll need someone to teach it…

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