Christopher M Best

Computer Scientist

Engility Corporation

FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center

Target Generation Facility

christopher.ctr.best (at) faa.gov

mrmerrow (at) monkeyinfinity.net



Christopher M Best

Objective

To apply my simulation development experience in the creation and continued development of world-class simulator projects.

Work Experience

Engility,
FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center
Pomona, NJComputer Scientist,
Target Generation Facility

4/2008-Present

  • Developed the Virtual Airport Immersion Environment, a C++/OpenSceneGraph-based, multi-screen, real-time air traffic control tower simulator
  • Extended VAIE to support cockpit simulations
  • Refactored large sections of legacy Java distributed airspace simulator codebase, updating it from Java 1.4 paradigms to 1.6 and 1.7
  • Introduced additional capabilities to Java simulator, including completely rewritten network protocols and client/server data capabilities
  • Developed tools to allow non-expert users to perform scenario creation and data analysis
  • Collaborated on experimental design and directed large-scale, distributed Human-in-the-Loop simulations
University of Louisiana Lafayette, LAResearch Assistant

8/2005-1/2008

  • Taught sophomore level computer science lab on C++ and object oriented design
  • Converted in-house, Windows-based Virtual Reality lab applications from Visual C++ to cross-platform, C++ VR Juggler applications
  • Taught Senior/Graduate level VR and graphics classes, under supervision of the class's Professor
  • Developed GLSL-shader based visualization system to allow simultaneous viewing of multiple geological data sets (Master's Thesis)
Turbo Squid New Orleans, LASoftware Developer

6/2006-3/2007

  • Documented modification methods for game engines to be used for integration into content development/delivery system.
  • Implemented a C++ based bridge using Microsoft Foundation Classes between in-house tools and third party applications.

Education

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Master's of Science,
Computer Science
12/2007

  • Member of Entertainment Computing Research Group.
  • Several academic papers and Master's Thesis published.
  • 3.9/4.0 GPA.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette Bachelors of General Studies,
Computer Science
12/2005

  • 3.25/4.0 GPA.
  • Founding member and officer of Student Video Game Alliance
  • Leader in creation of video game development curriculum at University.

Languages and Skills

C/C++/C#, Java, Flex/ActionScript, Perl, Python, HTML, ASP.NET

OpenSceneGraph/OpenGL, GLSL, STL, Boost, SQL, CIGI, DIS/HLA, Linux, Windows

Sample of Papers

A Complete Solution for Composable Volumetric Lenses,” Master's Thesis

“Real-time Rendering Method and Performance Evaluation of Composable 3D Lenses for Interactive VR”, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, May/June 2010 (vol. 16 no. 3), pp. 394-410.

“New Rendering Approach for Composable Volumetric Lenses”, IEEE Virtual Reality 2008, pp. 189-192.

“Volumetric Windows: Application to Interpretation of Scientific Data, Shader-Based Rendering Method, and Performance Evaluation”, The 2007 International Conference on Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality, pp. 72-78. (PDF)

“Geomorphology and Holocene Fluvial Depositional History in the Mississippi River Valley near Lafayette, Louisiana: Interpretations of LIDAR Data Performed in 3D Virtual Reality”, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, 2007.

“System for Interpretation of 3D Data in Virtual Reality Displays and Refined Interpretations of Geophysical and Topographic Data from the Chicxulub Impact Crater”, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions, v. 56, pp. 87-100.



Prior Work






Virtual Airport Immersion Environment

The Virtual Airport Immersion Environment (VAIE)is a highly extensible 3D rendering solution for the Target Generation Facility's high-fidelity air-traffic simulator. The VAIE uses TGF's internally developed DANSIG image generator software which was built from the ground up to be modular and easily customizable. DANSIG uses advanced rendering techniques to efficiently handle many scene lights - often 5 per aircraft - that produce highly realistic lighting effects that interact with the terrain and other aircraft in the scene.

Some Features Include:

  • OpenSceneGraph based rendering of aircraft and airports.
  • Aircraft and Ground vehicle motion projected to a WGS84 coordinate system using TGF's internal algorithms.
  • Real-time ephemeris calculations for sky color, lighting conditions, starfield, etc. using SilverLining.
  • Real-time shadow rendering based on calculated sun/moon position.
  • Real-time aircraft lighting (navigation, taxi, landing, etc.) that affects the environment.
  • Real-time weather effects (snow/rain, fog, clouds)
  • Particle-system based special effects (fire, smoke, etc.)

Components:

  • DANSIG - CIGI v3.3 compliant image generator. Makes use of custom a deferred rendering system to enable advanced effects and hundreds of simultaneous lights in the scene.
  • VAIE Controller - CIGI v3.3 compliant host. Built from the ground-up to support a modular, plug-in based architecture. The Controller can quickly and easily be cusomized to support a wide range of simulation requirements.
  • Cigizilla - TGF's in-house implementation of the CIGI standard.
  • VSIM Libraries - Shared components between DANSIG and the Controller, including a common data-access layer as well as configuration and support utilities.
  • TGF C++ Framework - Shared modules between all TGF C++ applications, primarily maintained by the VSIM team but also utilized by other groups in TGF (such as TGF's HLA interface). Provides a collection of ATC/Airspace objects, networking libraries, file reading and writing (XML, Heightmap, etc.), common GUI code, and TGF internal networking protocols.

Current Installations:

  • NextGen Integration and Evaluation Capability Tower Suite - 280-degree, 24 screen tower simulation installation. Screens are bezelless 1080p 16x9 aspect ratio LCD displays in portrait orientation. An additional 8 image generators are available to simulate surveillance and/or tracking camera feeds.
  • NIEC Research Cockpit Simulator - 200-degree, 5 screen cockpit installation. Combines DANSIG software with customized Controller plugins and VT MAK's VR-TheWorld whole-earth terrain database to provide out-the-window visuals for the NIEC and Cockpit Simulation Facility's cockpit simulator. Seamlessly integrates the RCS into distributed simulations driven by the Target Generation Facility.
  • FAA Research & Development/Human Factors Lab - 330-degree, 11 screen tower simulation installation. The screens are 73" DLP televisions. Paired with two touch-screen controller positions
  • Airport Facilities Terminal Integration Lab - 360-degree, 11 screen tower simulation installation. The displays are 4'x8', floor-to-ceiling rear projection screens. An earlier version of the installation was used for a Class-D Airspace UAS study, while the current version is used to support the AFTIL's tower siting work. This system also boasts the capability to support hand-held, virtual binoculars that allow a user to literally walk around the virtual tower and view objects in the virtual environment as though they were holding actual field glasses. A recent addition is a tower rapid-prototyping tool, allowing real-time placement and modification of simulated air-traffic control towers in virtual airport models.

Prior Work:

  • Tower Datacomm Simulation - Evaluated effects of varying levels of surface surveillance and digital taxi clearance availability on controller workload and error rate.
  • Staffed Next-Gen Tower - Series of simulations to test NextGen tower concepts. Evaluated Tower Information Display System (TIDS) concept software; digital flight strip and Flight Data Management; fixed, controlled, and automatically tracking surveillance camera capabilities; inclement weather and day/night operations; emergency response management. Work is still ongoing.
  • Victorville Unmanned Aircraft Study - Studied the effect on safety and controller workload of multiple unmanned aircraft systems operating in Class D airspace.
  • Philadelphia Airspace Familiarization - Familiarized PHL controllers with future redesigned terminal airspace for Philadelphia International Airport and associated tower procedures.
  • Aircraft Access to Swim - Evaluated possible benefits of pilot access to System-Wide Information Management data streams in a commercial airline cockpit operating in all phases of flight during Instrument Meteorological Condition flight.
  • AFTIL Tower Siting - Provided support of the AFTIL's tower siting studies, used to evaluate new tower construction to determine visibility and any possible safety hazards early in the design process before any actual construction is started. Work ongoing.

Upcoming Work:

  • Weather Technology in the Cockpit - Intended to study pilot behavior in night time, oceanic flight during extreme weather with the addition of satellite-based weather information. Required accepting and rendering multiple weather data sets in real-time from the National Center for Atmospheric Research for the entire Gulf of Mexico region.

Composable Volumetric Lenses

Developed as a research project while at the Center for Advanced Computer Studies Virtual Reality Lab at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Subject of Master's Thesis.

Allowed viewing of multiple geological datasets simultaneously in an interactive, immersive 3D environment for multiple networked users.



Example Code

Bouncy Balls With Shadow Volumes v1.0

This is a sample application that shows how to do very simple shadow volumes as well as very simple elastic collisions. Only uses the fixed-function OpenGL pipeline, and is based on GLUT. It's embarassingly old, but I keep it here for sentimental reasons.

Binary.

Source.