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VMASC Interactive Exhibit on Display at Perry Library

By Carrie Anderson and Amy Matzke-Fawcett

The Virginia Modeling, Analysis & Simulation Center (VMASC) installed an innovative, interactive exhibit in the Learning Commons at Perry Library on Nov. 7. The exhibit will run until Nov. 20.

Researchers from VMASC developed the exhibit, which receives tweets sent to @ExpVMASC and analyzes them for emotive words and ODU-related hashtags set by the researchers. Once the tweets are received by the VMASC account, they're sent, in real time, to IBM's Watson. The computer analytics program analyzes them for sentiment - hope, love, etc.

That data is then returned and shown as a line in a color corresponding to the emotion in a text block for the hashtag used and displayed on a screen.

The hashtags, which correspond to the colleges and graduate school at ODU, are:










The text of the tweets will not be displayed or saved.

The idea behind the project is to show that modeling and simulation is for everyone, said Saikou Diallo, research associate professor at VMASC. He is one of the developers of the project, along with Hector Garcia and John Shull, both senior project scientists at VMASC, and Alex Neilsen, Ph.D. candidate in the English department.

"We want to fight the idea that some technologies belong only to engineering, because there are possibilities for collaboration and resources for everyone in all disciplines," Diallo said. "We want this to go back to a message of unifying and reuniting people with technology and putting people at the center of it."

"The ODU Libraries are thrilled to have this display," said Abbie Basile, liaison librarian for ODU Libraries. "It's a perfect partnership since faculty and students from all disciplines come together in the Libraries to encounter new ideas and, with help from VMASC, new technologies that can help them in all of their academic pursuits."

A second display will use a sensor box to measure foot traffic near Einstein's Bagels on the first floor of the Library and map it on a second screen showing a data wall. The foot-traffic model will be one of 12 displayed boxes on the screen, which will also include visualizations of some of VMASC's other projects and a 360 camera.

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