International Business Machines has awarded a $1.8 million grant to establish a Computer Visualization Program at the University of Utah, Brigham Young University and Utah State University.

The grant provides for the installation of 12 IBM RISC 6000 work-stations at the three institutions. Eight will be installed at the U. and two each at BYU and USU.Visualization allows scientists to turn mountains of numbers into images via computer graphics techniques, which can communicate the meaning of results much faster and provide a more intuitive understanding of problems. With the advanced graphics available on the high-performance workstations, researchers can simulate a wide range of physical processes and perform other critical experiments.

Visualization techniques have been applied successfully in the fields of mechanical engineering, medicine, chemistry, and many other areas that can couple the new computational ability of current workstations with computer graphics.

The grant includes the 12 workstations and related software, valued at a total cost of $1.2 million; $252,000 for the use of two IBM systems experts to help professor and students operate this advanced equipment; and $325,000 for management and graduate student assistance. The U.'s 6000s will be set up initially in the Department of Computer Science's computer graphics laboratory.

With the advent of faster graphics, researchers can convert entire fields of variables to color images. Much of modern science can no longer be communicated in print. DNA sequences, molecular models, medical imaging scans, simulated flights through terrain, and simulations of fluid flow must all be taught and expressed visually.