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The National Science Foundation and the Journal Science invite you to participate in the 2005
Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge
Overview Entering Judging FAQs Press Room Results For more information contact

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: May I submit custom code that I have written?
A: No. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources or manpower to compile/install custom software. Neither do we have the time to ramp up on running your particular simulation. In short, we don’t want your software; we want the output of your software.

Q: I have custom code that I ported to Windows, and it has a compliant Windows Install Shield so can I submit that?
A: No. For the same reason as cited in the first FAQ.

Q: What about media produced on a Mac?
A: Using a Mac to produce your Visualization is fine. However, keep in mind that even with the advent of Max OS-X, the color space is not equivalent to that of an Intel platform. The colors and overall look may not be what you expect. Review and judging will occur in a typical corporate PC computing environment.

Q: I have some media produced on an SGI workstation, is that OK to submit?
A: Not if we need an SGI workstation to view it. We realize that some really high-end work is done on this platform. What you need to do is generate the Visualization output, move that to a Windows box and then create your images, digital movies, etc. This ensures that we will be able to review it in a PC environment.

Q: May I submit Photoshop or Quark express files?
A: No. We cannot get into a situation of deciding what proprietary formats we have to support. If it’s a still image send us a PC byte order TIFF, JPG or plain old Windows BMP. If it’s digital video see the FAQ entry about video.

Q: May we use an online URL as an entry?
A: No. We can’t rely on internet connections during the review/judging process. Save the relevant HTML and any associated media locally and then burn it to a CD-ROM or DVD.

Q: What about images embedded in some web pages?
A: Sure. Web is fine. That’s cross platform. Although, don’t go overboard on JavaScript or some other scripting language embedded in the pages.

Q: Is PowerPoint ok?
A: Yes. Ensure your presentation will display/run on a Windows based PC.

Q: PowerPoint is proprietary, so why the exception?
A: PowerPoint is nearly ubiquitous. We make exceptions for other proprietary formats that are defacto standards, see our FAQ entry on RealMedia and Shockwave/Flash.

Q: I have an entry for the Interactive category that I want to deliver in Flash or Shockwave. What should I submit--a standalone projector or the web embedded version?
A: Either is fine. We can’t rely on internet connections during the review/judging process so whatever you submit it's going to be on a CD or other media local to the presentation PC.

Q: What about digital video?
A: We accept all digital video formats that are compatible with Windows.

Q: What about QuickTime movies?
A: QuickTime for Windows is what you want to submit. When authored on a Mac, ensure you “flatten” the movie which allows the QuickTime to be played back on a PC.

Q: What do mean by “flatten” a Mac based file?
A: Mac files consist of two parts called “forks”. The "data fork" contains the data which would normally be stored in the file on other operating systems. The "resource fork" contains a collection of attributes including program segments, icon information, and other parametric data. Flattening a Mac file collapses these forks into one file which can be handled by other operating systems.

Q: This is my first foray into science Visualization. How would I convert file “X” to format “Y” so that it looks like “Z”?
A: We can’t provide new media technology advice but here are some links that will get you started:

Q: I have a standalone executable that is written in Java that generates some compelling graphics on the fly. Is this an acceptable entry?
A: Java Virtual Machine (JVM) implementations and OS compatibility is an issue we have chosen to avoid altogether. Please do not submit Java based executables.

Q: I have a standalone executable that is written in OpenGL that generates some compelling graphics on the fly. Is this an acceptable entry?
A: We will not accept executables written in OpenGL for the same reasons as cited in the first FAQ.

Q: Your submission policy seems inconsistent. Why allow entries based on proprietary technologies such as RealMedia, Shockwave and Flash and not permit submission of entries using OpenGL or Java which are used in Visualization all the time?
A: We realize that Visualization scientists and engineers utilize languages such as OpenGL and Java 3D for their daily work. However, we are interested in seeing the fruits of your labor rather than a sampling of the tools you use. For the sole purpose of playback, all the proprietary formats mentioned are free and nearly user transparent. Also since we have an Interactive category, it would be ridiculous not to accept submissions based on Shockwave or Flash; as the overwhelming majority of interactive media is delivered in these formats.

Q: May I submit animations that were burned to DVD?
A: Yes. Just ensure that it is an NTSC formatted DVD.

Q: How will my submission be displayed for review?
A: First round review panel members and judges will meet in conference rooms. Your entry will be displayed on a large screen from an LCD projector. If you submitted graphics or interactive media then a high end PC will be used.

Q: What can I submit? What kind of things would be appropriate?
A: Anyone asked would give a slightly different definition of science Visualization and have their own examples of what is representative. The best guidance we can offer is to just give it a shot and send us your entry while ensuring it complies with our submission guidelines.

Q: What compression codec should I use for digital movies?
A: This is a complicated question. The choice of compression codes is a set of tradeoffs that also depends on whether you choose Windows Media, QuickTime or Real Media. For Windows AVI, use compression codecs that are standard on Windows Media Player 8 installation or the Intel Indeo set. For QuickTime use the compression codecs that come standard with installation of the free QuickTime 6 player for Windows. MPEG-2 will not play natively in Windows Media Player so you should encode clips in MPEG-1 or MPEG-4. RealMedia may be encoded with Real 9 or earlier versions.

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