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Computer science professor, students help create innovative software

Monday, January 3, 2011

FREDERICK, Md.—Innovative software that uses a new image compression technique has been released by an international team of scientists that includes a Hood College computer science professor and three Hood students.

George Dimitoglou, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science; Hood graduate student Desmond Amadigwe; and Hood alumni Benjamin Caplins and Alen Alexanderian were members of the joint National Aeronautics and Space Administration and European Space Agency team that developed JHelioviewer, which is based on the JPEG 2000 compression standard. It allows user access to extensive scientific data collected by satellite telescopes minimizing the data transferred over the Internet to the desktop.

Modern satellite telescopes return enormous amounts of data—for example, a recently launched spacecraft equipped with telescopes to observe the sun returns data equivalent to more than 300 feature-length films each day. JHelioviewer makes it possible for scientists to more easily go through the data.

While the software is primarily designed for use by the solar physics scientific community, its navigation and ease of use, which closely matches that of the widely used Google Earth software, makes it equally accessible for novices. JHelioviewer also allows users to create their own movies, overlay a series of images from different telescopes, zoom in and out of specific image areas and perform a number of other processing functions.

The new software has received international attention within the scientific community and the public, generating more than 440,000 views on YouTube.

Dimitoglou previously worked for ESA at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., where he designed and developed archiving and distribution systems for the satellite mission to observe the sun, and a system to unify solar observatories and data sources from all over the world. For more information, visit www.jhelioviewer.org or www.youtube.com/user/jhelioviewer.