Camp 2007 - 1.01

Chaos Communication Camp 2007
To infinity and beyond

Ralph Bruckschen

Total computer geek since 1979. Build model rockets, transmitters, microcontrollers... Joined JP Aerospace in 2001. Main occupation is the visualization of massive datasets.

Ralph Bruckschen was born on June 21st 1968 in Moers am Niederrhein. Very soon he found his talent in playing with technology. In his youth, he messed around with chemistry, physics, electronics, and finally at the age of 11 with computers. At the tender year of 15 he made contact with local hackers and finally the CCC. His fumblings with hacking (using a Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the notorious Dataphon acoustic coupler) earned him the title of "Master of Desaster". After finishing school in 1987 and attending a 20 month civilian service as conscientious objector, he studied Mathematics at the University of Paderborn. During his studies, he worked on the visualization of computational fluid dynamics datasets. In 1992, he was the first in Germany to visualize a three-dimensional, time-varying flow dataset and in 1993 the first to do so using virtual reality. In 1995, he spent one year at the University of Maryland at College Park researching multi-resolution datastructures. His workplace was the Center of Automation Research, which is chaired by Hanan Samet. Samet wrote the probably most cited reference book about spatial datastructures, especially oct-trees. His key interest during his studies was the application of virtual reality methods for data visualization. After his graduation in January 1999, he started working for the "Vircinity GmbH", the commercial branch of the visualization group of the computing center at the University of Stuttgart. His main responsibility was fixing bugs in the virtual reality visualization system "Covise". In September 2000. he started working for CIPIC, the center for image processing and interactive computing at the University of California at College Park. There he developed several out-of-core methods for interactive data visualization. One of the papers he published in 2001 was cited and further developed by the visualization team of NASA Ames, where the original "virtual windtunnel" originated. The team at NASA was able to visualize several Terabytes of flow data interactively using his method. In 2001, he started working for JP Aerospace, "America's other space program" which is a volunteer based, private space endeavour. There he was building (near-) space ships, created onboard video systems, designed power supplies, experimented with super conductors, got an amateur radio license, filled balloons, conducted missions, developed the onboard computers of a stratospheric airship, made several trips into the black rock desert, travelled to unknown places in Oklahoma and Texas, and had an evil lot of fun. He had to go back to Germany in 2004 and after a year of recovery, he started working at the Supercomputing Center of the Max Planck Society in Garching. There he is still working on the visualization of massive datasets. His current project allows the user to fly through a simulated universe very similar to Star Trek, but with a scientific background. The experiences at JP Aerospace still haunts him, and so he decided to keep on the good work, and fly a balloon mission in Germany, together with many hackers and geeks.