Two teams of Carleton University students, thousands of kilometers apart, were linked recently via computer network “lightpaths” in a demonstration of the future of digital design in architecture, as part of the global iGrid 2005 showcase.

Several students from the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS), led by Professor Michael Jemtrud, Director of CIMS, worked simultaneously on a highly detailed, complex three-dimensional digital replica of the famous Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA.

“What we are doing today signals a paradigm shift in the world of architectural design, and CIMS is leading the way,” said Prof. Jemtrud. “We are showing that the technology now exists to quickly link architects, designers, engineers and construction teams together in a seamless real-time digital work environment for flawless execution in a fraction of the time of traditional processes.”

One team was at the CIMS lab at Carleton University and the other was at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego. A high-definition video link connected the two teams to enable real-time, face-to-face collaboration.

“This demonstration shows how the most creative minds can come together anywhere in the world to imagine and construct together in rich, digitally enabled collaborative work environments” said Jemtrud. The complex digital re-construction included precise and accurate details and design features in a 3-D model which had a highly-rendered and sophisticated quality to it.

CIMS is using CA*Net 4, Canada’s high-speed national research and education network established by Ottawa’s CANARIE Inc., linked to other high-speed research networks as part of the Global Lambda Integrated Facility, an international virtual high-speed computer research network.