John (Jack) Moreland, visualization specialist, Purdue University Calumet
John Moreland uses computers to help solve real world problems. In the visualization laboratory at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Moreland, 30, instructs faculty and students how to visualize data in a practical way.
One problem he solved was helping steel companies make sure giant kettles of iron ore and other materials were mixed thoroughly. Because no one could get inside the kettle while it was operating, Moreland created a “virtual” kettle, and with the help of 3D glasses “walked around” inside while it was operating. During his walk he discovered the impellers weren’t mixing the material thoroughly. After redesigning the impellers, the problem was solved. Moreland also spends time with groups who are working opposite sides of the same coin. “They will have produced lots of numerical data about a problem, but they’re having trouble visualizing it,” says Moreland. “I’m a translator,” says Moreland, adding that he takes their data, turns it into something they can visualize, which can lead to a solution, like the impeller problem.
Full article can be viewed in Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly, Fall 2009 (http://nwibq.wordpress.com/)