2007 ORION Awards - Celebrating Ontario's contribution to research, teaching and learning

    TORONTO, June 4 /CNW/ - Ground-breaking innovations, from advanced
visualization tools to startling computer simulations unraveling the mysteries
of the universe are being celebrated at the annual ORION Awards in Toronto
    Presented at the Ontario Research and Education Summit at the MaRS
Discovery District in Toronto, the awards recognize achievements in research,
education and scientific discovery.
    "Educators, scientists and researchers are taking advantage of the
enormous potential made possible through sophisticated technologies, placing
Ontario at the cutting edge of innovation and scientific research," says Phil
Baker, President/CEO of the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network
(ORION), which presents the annual awards.

    ORION Award winners for 2007 include:
    The ORION Leadership Award recognizes the achievements of an individual
for significant contributions to advancing research, education, science, or
discovery through the development and/or application of innovative information
and communications technologies.

        Winner - Dr. Nicolas Georganas is one of Canada's most accomplished
        information technology and networking research pioneers. The
        Associate Vice-President of Research (External) at the University of
        Ottawa, he has made substantial and enduring technical contributions
        in computer, cellular and multimedia networking and helped train and
        mentor the community researchers that have made Ontario a global
        leader in information technology. Recently invested as an Officer of
        the Order of Canada, Dr. Georganas is widely regarded as one of the
        "fathers" of high technology in Canada. He has made important
        contributions from the underlying mechanisms of the Internet to some
        of the most advanced broadband applications including immersive,
        haptically-enabled distributed virtual environments.

        Award of Merit - Dr. Ronald M. Baecker, University of Toronto
        Professor of Computer Science, is widely recognized as one of the
        world's pioneers of computer animation and leading authority in the
        field of human-computer interaction. From his early research at MIT,
        where he pioneered the use of computers to enable artists to
        interactively create animated films, Dr. Baecker's 40-year research
        career spans applications to education, medicine, and design. Founder
        of the world-renowned Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI), Dr.
        Baecker has accumulated a long list of international awards and
        citations, making him one of Ontario's most accomplished and
        celebrated innovators.

    The ORION Discovery Award recognizes research and scientific initiatives
that successfully apply and leverage the unique capabilities of advanced
networks and technology platforms to achieve significant outcomes in research
and discovery.

        Winner - The EUCALYPTUS Project, at the Carleton University Immersive
        Media Studio (CIMS), is taking the design and collaborative
        technology world by storm, with startling innovations in high-
        definition visualizations that are expected to lead to new
        applications ranging from architectural design and gaming to
        emergency response and the performance arts. Using advanced networks
        like ORION and state-of-the-art User-Controlled Lightpath (UCLP)
        technology developed by CANARIE, the project allows dispersed teams
        at multiple locations to collaborate and visualize in real-time by
        sharing computational resources, geometry datasets, and multimedia
        content. It is an Ontario technology success story being showcased in
        the international research and education community that has
        introduced meaningful innovations to the worlds of design, business
        and entertainment.

        Award of Merit - The Black Holes and Cosmic Evolution Project, led by
        a team of Ontario and US researchers using some of Canada's top
        supercomputers, successfully addressed one of the world's
        computational Grand Challenges, and effectively confirmed that black
        holes have played a role in the evolution of galaxies. The research,
        generating a computer simulation of six billion years of cosmic
        history, was one of the world's largest computer-based simulations of
        its kind. It involved high performance computing facilities at
        SHARCNET and HPCVL in Ontario and WestGrid in Alberta, interconnected
        over Canada's advanced, ultra-high speed Canadian research networks,
        including ORION, Netera, BCnet and CANARIE.

    The ORION Learning Award recognizes the achievements of faculty, students
and/or staff in promoting successful examples of collaborative teaching,
learning and training.

        Winner - The Institute for Knowledge Innovation and Technology
        (IKIT), based at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at
        the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), is having a growing impact on
        the world of education. IKIT has been a global leader in research-
        based innovations in theory, pedagogy, and technology, all aimed at
        making citizens part of a 21st-century knowledge-creating culture. It
        has brought awards and innovations to Ontario, including the first
        collaborative networked learning environment. IKIT hosts the
        Knowledge Society Network, uniting innovators worldwide who are using
        IKIT's ground-breaking Knowledge Forum software and producing
        striking advances across sectors and at all levels from
        pre-kindergarten to professional continuing education.

        Award of Merit - The Learning Connections Project brings together a
        dedicated group of partners and champion teachers who are learning
        how to make full use of the Knowledge Age's endless resources and
        new, interactive technologies to raise the literacy and numeracy
        levels for Ontario students. The project, which reaches out to nine
        school districts throughout Ontario, has helped transform teacher
        practice with the goal of raising student achievement in literacy and
        numeracy by using videoconferencing, web streaming, and other
        collaborative technologies and interactive resources. It points to
        powerful results in supporting curriculum and professional learning
        that engages teachers and students, and helps Ontario keep at the
        leading edge of education, teaching and learning leadership and

    ABOUT ORION (www.orion.on.ca)

    The Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) is Ontario's
ultra high-speed research and education network which connects all of
Ontario's universities, most colleges, several medical and other public
research facilities and a growing number of school boards to one another and
to the global grid of research and education networks. Stretching 5,800
kilometres over 21 communities throughout Ontario, ORION connects over one
million Ontario researchers, scientists, students, teachers and staff to
critical infrastructure for research, education and innovation.

    Learn more about the ORION Awards at

    Full descriptions of the winners are available here:
    http://www.orion.on.ca/2007orionawards/pdf/Backgrounder 2007 Winners.doc

    Download high-resolution images of the ORION Award graphic at this
    location: http://www.orion.on.ca/2007orionawards/logos.html

For further information:

For further information: Tamara Stoll, Communications Officer, ORION,
(416) 507-9860 ext. 24, tamara.stoll@orion.on.ca

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Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION)

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