Forging into our second exciting decade of CITRIS

Dear Friends of CITRIS,

As we enter a new calendar year, we also forge into our second exciting decade of CITRIS, and I’m delighted to report the addition of two wonderful new leaders to our team. Nina Amenta, the new CITRIS Director at UC Davis, is profiled in one of our newsletter stories. She is doing her own innovative research in the area of parallel  computing and computer graphics, but she is also dedicated to enabling researchers in other fields to exploit the power of IT generally and 3D modeling in particular to solve other, broader problems. There is a lot of excellent environment-related work unfolding across the UC Davis campus and in a very CITRIS way, Nina wants to amplify results and broaden applications by facilitating connections and collaborations between different researchers, departments, and campuses.

One hundred and thirty miles southeast, at UC Merced, CITRIS has an excellent new interim director, Daniel Hirleman, also Professor and Dean of the School of Engineering. Dan’s own research is in the area of optical diagnostics including surface characterization and sensors for semiconductor manufacturing, particle and flow diagnostics, bio-hazard detection, and design for inspectability. We are very lucky and happy to have him on board.

We’re also launching a new format for our newsletter with this issue. We’re calling it the CITRIS Signal because we are dedicated to bringing you the stories that signal progress in applying IT to a wide range of challenges, from the societal scale to the human one. In this issue, we focus on Berkeley art historian Elizabeth Honig, who is finding new ways to shed light on the works of Jan Brueghel, the sixteenth-century Flemish painter famous for his strange and wonderful allegorical scenes, rural landscapes (including bawdy peasant revelry), and floral bouquets. The work is all fascinating, but the exact role Jan played in the making of individual paintings has been, for various reasons, rather obscure, a fact that has inhibited good scholarship in the area. Elizabeth, both through the development and application of digital brush-stroke analysis techniques, and with the formation of a Brueghel Wiki, is going to change all that.

I would like to give warm thanks to Ben Yoo, director emeritus of CITRIS@Davis for his inspiration and service over the past ten years and, in particular, for helping shape the California Telehealth Network into a national model. All of my colleagues on all four CITRIS campuses join me in wishing Ben the best of luck in his own important research.

And finally, I want to express a belated goodbye to Jeff Wright, director emeritus of CITRIS@Merced, who moved on to Western Washington University this fall.  I am sure he will continue to do great things for open-source computing, energy and the environment, and progressive education. Thank you, Jeff and Ben.

Keep up the good work.

Best wishes,
Paul K. Wright
Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute@CITRIS Berkeley