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Meet the Visualization Team Bringing NREL Data to Life (Text Version)

NREL's Insight Center provides an immersive space where researchers can interact with—and interpret—their data in new ways. This video introduces the Insight Center Research team: Kenny Gruchalla, Nicholas Brunhart-Lupo, and Kristi Potter.

The video opens with a flash of light, which fades into background footage of people with laptops sitting at a conference table. There is a smaller table on the side of the room with a computer monitor and several pairs of VR goggles sitting on it. Across from the conference table, there is a person standing in front of a large screen displaying energy model simulations. The words following words appear on the screen over this background video:

“Energy Systems Integration Facility
Immersive Visualization – Insight Center
Meet the Team”

The video cuts to a man (Kenny) standing in front of a screen wearing VR goggles and holding a controller for the display. He turns from facing the screen to facing the camera and folds his arms across his chest. The following words swipe onto the screen from the right:

“Kenny Gruchalla
Senior Scientist, Scientific Visualization
National Renewable Energy Laboratory.”

Nicholas: Dr. Kenny Gruchalla is a scientific visualization researcher here at NREL and he is an expert in immersive scientific visualization.

This cuts to footage of Nicholas sitting in a chair in front of a large screen showing a still of a colorful simulation. Behind him, there is a table with a computer monitor showing another still simulation on it.

Nicholas: Also, a really awesome dude.

The video shows a close-up of Kenny facing the camera and removing his VR goggles. Behind him, the screen of data visualizations moves.

Kristi: Well, he only likes dark beer. [Laughs]

The videos cuts to Kristi sitting in a chair in front of a large screen showing a still simulation of a wind turbine.

The footage then shows hands typing on keyboard. The video then zooms out to show that the hands belong to Kenny, who is sitting at a table typing on the laptop. It then cuts to closer shot of him looking at laptop screen, then wiping his eye under his glasses.

Kristi: Kenny is basically our fearless leader.

Kenny is wearing VR goggles and holding a controller. He walks across the screen, from right to left, and turns to face the visualizations. He reaches across the screen while holding the controller.

Kristi: Kenny's quiet intensity really is him having a lot of inner dialogue, I think.

The video shows more footage of Kristi speaking to the camera.

Kristi: There's a lot of stuff going on internally, and then you get the one little sentence out, but it's a good sentence. 

The video shows a man holding a controller and wearing VR goggles. He walks toward a screen of data visualizations. The footage then cuts to another angle of him walking across the screen while watching it move around. He points to the screen. As he moves the controller, the visualizations move around on screen.

The video cuts back to Nicholas speaking to the camera. Motions to the monitor behind him.

Nicholas: Kenny is one of the preeminent researchers in immersive visualization. I think his master's thesis was one of the seminal papers on immersive visualization, the work that we do here in the cave.

The video shows a close-up side profile of Kenny wearing VR goggles. He turns to face camera and smiles.

[Music]

The video cuts to Kristi standing in front of a large screen of data visualizations. She is holding a pair of glasses. She folds her arms and smiles. The following words appear on the left of the screen:
“Kristi Potter
Visualization Scientist, Insight Center
National Renewable Energy Lab”

Kenny: So, how do we want to characterize Kristi? She's the big name at the lab.

The video then shows Kenny facing the camera. Behind him, there is a whiteboard covered with equations.

Kenny: Nicholas and I are the introverted ones; Kristi is the extroverted one.

The video shows close-up footage of Kristi laughing while standing in front of a large screen of data visualizations.

Kenny: Her claim to fame is uncertainty visualization.

Light flashes across the screen. This fades into footage of a table where two men sit with a looptop and keyboard. In front of them, Kristi is standing in front of a large screen showing data visualizations. She is wearing VR goggles and turns to face the men at the table. The screen shows a large map with percentages and words on it.

The viddo shows more footage of Kristi speaking to the camera.

Kristi: Definitely certain that uncertainty is very important.

The footage once again shows Kristi standing in front of the large map. She moves a controller across the screen and a large arrow moves with it. The men at the table talk to one another.

The video cuts to more footage of Kenny speaking to the camera.

Kenny: There's uncertainty throughout our data, whether that data be measured or simulated.

The video shows a close-up side profile of Kristi. Behind here, there is a large screen showing data visualizations. The footage moves down to show her working on simulations on her looptop.

The footage cuts to Nicholas wearing VR goggles and holding a controller. He is facing a large screen showing data visualizations in the form of bouncing columns over a map. Bouncing bits of data on screen. The images on the screen zoom and Nicholas walks across screen from right to left.

Kenny: And she's thought deeply and done a lot of work in the space of trying to understand how you can visualize that uncertainty. Too often in a visualization you're given a number but that number's not real.

The video cuts to more footage of Kenny speaking to the camera.

Kenny: That number is fuzzy. And what Kristi has been working toward is throughout different types of visualization how you represent that fuzziness. That way, you can make better decisions.

The video shows a close-up of Kristi’s hands working on laptop in dark room. A remote control sits on table next to her. In the background, a large, bright screen shows data moving across it.

Kenny: She lives in this fuzzy world.

[Music]

The video shows Nicholas facing a large screen while holding a controller. He takes off a pair of VR goggles and turns to face camera. He smiles and laughs. The following words appear on the right of the screen:
“Nicholas Brunhart-Lupo
Visualization Scientist, Insight Center
National Renewable Energy Laboratory”

Kenny: Nicholas Brunhart-Lupo, he's a research scientist in the visualization team.

The video shows footage of a white floor with the shadow of a pair of hands and a VR controller. A pair of feet are shown on the right of the screen. This cuts to Nicholas standing in front of a screen, then a close-up of his side profile as he faces the screen while wearing goggles and holding a controller. He waves the controller in his hand across the screen, and the data visualizations follow this motion.

Kenny: His official title is "cave troll." He is kind of the primary manager of kind of the cave space of the immersive space.

The video shows Nicholas sitting at a desk with three monitors in front of him. Behind him there is whitebeard covered in equations. He peers over the monitors and raises his eyebrows.

Kenny: Nicholas' happy place is C++. C++ and OpenGL. That's kind of where he loves to live.

The video cuts to more footage of Kenny speaking to the camera.

Kenny: I think the first thing everybody needs to know is that Nicholas is single. So, all the ladies out there…

The video cuts to more footage of Kristi speaking to the camera.

Kristi: The primary thing you should know is that he is not the cave troll that he claims to be.

The footage shows Nicholas in a dark room. He is sitting in front of a monitor that shows data. This cuts to footage of Nicholas facing two monitors. Behind him, there is a large whiteboard covered in equations.

Kristi: And the stuff that he's doing in this cave is very impressive.

The video cuts to Nicholas standing in front of a screen of data visualizations. The screen appears to show an abstract simulation of people inside a vehicle. Kenny moves the controller by waving his arms, and as he does so dots of data move across the screen.

Krisit: He's – I haven't seen a whole lot of other people doing the kinds of stuff that he's doing and at this level.

The video cuts to more footage of Kenny speaking to the camera.

Kenny: And the way we describe Nicholas is he's a – he's kind of like Batman.

This cuts to Nicholas sitting at a conference table in a dark room. He has a keyboard, mouse, and computer monitor showing data in front of him. He has one hand on the mouse, and with the other points toward the monitor. The arm of someone offscreen also points to monitor and Nicholas looks at this person and smiles.

Kenny: So, he's an OpenGL programmer by day; he's a Vulkan programmer by night.

The video cuts to more footage of Kenny speaking to the camera.

Kenny: I would bet he speaks Klingon.

[End of Audio]

The video shows the team standing in front of screen. Nicholas, Kristi, and Kenny are standing with their arms folded as data moves across the screen behind them. All three of them look into the camera and smile. This footage blurs out and the NREL logo appears on the upper left of the video. The following words appear in the center of the screen:
“Learn more about NREL’s capabilities at the Energy Systems Integration Facility at nrel.gov/esif”

The video fades to black.