Institute for Computational Astrophysics

Data Cave

As of Spring 2017, the Data Cave is no longer active.

The Data Cave is a three dimensional immersive environment designed for visualizing complex simulations. The ICA requested the Data Cave as a part of the ACENET proposal in order to visualize our three dimensional hydrodynamic and magneto-hydrodynamic simulations of stars and jets.

As of 20 July 2007, the Data Cave training has been completed for selected users.

To view details of the Data Cave Grand Opening click here.

To view details of the Data Cave and the Data Cave installation click here.


2D photo of a 3D rendering of the space shuttle docking at the International Space Station.


Software for this demonstration developed by Mr. Wilfried Beslin, photo taken by Mr. David Williamson.

The digitized files of 3D models courtesy of NASA.


ACEnet Systems Administrator, Phil Romkey, shows ACOA Minister Keith Ashfield how 3-D images can be created in the university's Data Cave in the Science Building. Dr. Bob Deupree, Canada Research Chair in Astronomy and Astrophysics looks on.


A researcher explores the inside of a molecule in the University's new ACEnet Data Cave.


ICA Director, Robert Deupree, and graduate student, Jonathan Ramsey, study a representation of a ZEUS3D star formation calculation by ICA faculty member David Clarke.


Experience gained by working with ICA 3D hydrodynamic simulations over the last few months are convincing that the Data Cave is an exceedingly useful tool in elucidating the results of such simulations, but this experience also indicates that there is great scope for artistry in making the visual representation effective. We look forward to continuing to explore this landscape.

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ACEnet's Data Cave Grand Opening - 10 June 2008

The ACEnet Data Cave official Grand Opening was held at Saint Mary's University on June 10, 2008. Attendees included ACEnet users, members of the ACEnet Executive, Research Directorate, and Board of Directors, Saint Mary's faculty and administrators, and representatives from the funding agencies. The Grand Opening included an official ceremony, a reception, and some tours of the Data Cave.

Dr. Colin Dodds (Saint Mary's University President), Dr. Mark Whitmore (Dean of Science at the University of Manitoba and original ACEnet Principal Investigator), Dr. Christopher Loomis (Vice President of Research at Memorial University of Newfoundland and chair of the ACEnet Board of Directors), and Ms. Lynne Zucker (Director of Education and Research Markets, Sun Microsystems Canada – Sun Microsystems is ACEnet's primary vendor partner) provided brief remarks at the opening ceremony highlighting aspects of ACEnet.


From left to right: Dr. Colin Dodds, President, SMU; Dr. Robert Deupree, Principal Investigator, ACEnet and Director, Institute for Computational Astrophysics, SMU; Dr. Mark Whitmore, Dean of Science, University of Manitoba; Dr. Chris Loomis, Vice President Research, MUN; Ms. Lynne Zucker, Director of Education and Research Markets, SUN Microsystems Canada


Guests arriving for the opening ceremony


Mingling at the Reception


Dr. Keith Thompson (Dalhousie oceanographer and ACEnet Research Directorate member) and Dr. John Cullen (Dalhousie oceanographer) enjoy the reception


Long time Canadian High Performance Computing leaders Dr. Russell Boyd, Dr. Virendra Bhavsar, and Dr. Mark Whitmore take a moment for the camera


We were able to capture a very temporary part of the celebration


Chris Geroux, Ph. D. student gives a tour to guests in the Data Cave


Jon Ramsey, Ph. D. student, and Mark Richardson, undergraduate honours student, operate the consoles of the Data Cave

CBC National News Coverage

Members of the ICA featured prominently in a story about the ACEnet Data Cave shown on the CBC National on Tuesday, November 6, 2007. Robert Deupree and graduate student, Jonathan Ramsey, were joined by the ACEnet system administrator stationed at Saint Mary's University, Phil Romkey, in the interview conducted by CBC's Tom Murphy.

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Data Cave Installation

ICA personnel wait for the installation of the Data Cave (image below) on the first floor of the remodeled Science Building. The preparation for the 40' x 27' x 15' room is complete. The data cave installation is expected near the end of April and should be ready for general use by the end of May. The Data Cave is funded by ACEnet, through its grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and matching funds from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the provinces of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, and New Brunswick.



The construction of the Data Cave begins. Note the mirror to the left behind the installer.


The skeleton framework is completed.


Screens are in place.


The computer is installed.


Projectors in place to back light screen.


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