On the 12th of December, Marhaba was invited down to the lovely star-shaped building that houses Texas A&M University, and after wandering about lost for a while, we entered what looked like a mini-cinema. A 120 degree curved screen was in front of us, the only visualisation device in Qatar, called an Immersive Visualisation Facility (IVF).

Three projectors sit behind the screen, which display two images which makes the screen slightly blurred, until you put on the special goggles, which synchronizes the images immediately.

Texas A&M use their IVF to create 3D images and graphics to make teaching and research more fun and easier, particularly for medicine or oil and gas research.

The Visualization Development Competition (VDC) wants researchers from across Qatar to submit proposals to develop research projects using the IVF. Director of Research Computing, Othmane Bouhali, Ph.D, says that the competition is open to all institutes, and after a proposal is selected, he and his department will work with the competitors to develop the idea using the IVF for three months. After that, the project will be presented to a committee and could win $6000.

The only criteria, Bouhali said, is the quality of the proposal, the benefits it could create for teaching or for Qatar, the level of innovation and they would prefer student participation but it’s not mandatory.

This is the third year of the competition.