Welcome to the Advanced VR Research Centre (AVRRC) located in the heart of the Holywell Science and Enterprise Park at Loughborough University. As a leading Centre for Virtual Engineering we research complex systems and their optimisation to meet the needs of challenging applications. We employ advanced modelling, simulation and interactive visualization techniques to gain greater understanding of the performance, behaviour and emergent properties of advanced technology and complex systems across a wide range of application areas. We also co-develop advanced modelling, simulation and visualization tools and techniques to overcome limitations of current generation tools, especially with respect to today's Big Data challenges.
We have successfully applied our research across a wide number of sectors including aerospace, automotive, construction, defence, energy, healthcare, homeland security, infrastructure resilience, manufacturing, scientific exploration, space and transport.
The AVRRC was the first, and is the longest established VR Centre in a UK University. A key to our success has been the extremely close links to industry and our approach to delivering solutions to otherwise intractable problems in a timely manner. We have been extremely fortunate to have received significant funding throughout our existence - being responsive to the changes in industry needs and advances in technology (hardware and software).
The Advanced VR Research Centre (AVRRC) undertakes research into complex systems and their development. In particular, we employ advanced modelling, simulation and interactive visualization techniques to gain greater understanding of the performance, behaviour and emergent properties of complex systems across a wide range of application areas.
We regard modelling, simulation and visualization (M,S,V) as a continuum involving abstract or mathematical representations of system behaviour or function through to complex coupled models and simulations that represent significantly complex systems. Invariably, the human is an integral part of the system either as a designer or eventual user. Interactive visualization has been an integral part of our approach because it provides the means to interact, probe and investigate the system being modelled. Our visualization research spans the field of multi-criteria visual analytics through to high fidelity representations of the real world. Consequently, our research involves developing new approaches to significantly improve the effectiveness of human interaction with complex systems.
In the early days we focussed predominantly on virtual interfaces for synthetic environments. However, this research has evolved over the years to include the wider aspects of coupled models and simulations across a heterogeneous modelling and simulation environment. Consequently, our research into Big Data across different disciplines is leading to significant breakthroughs in how to process complex interactions within the data to enable human beings to interpret and understand otherwise incomprehensible data interactions.
A consistent set of themes that have underpinned our research from the mid 1990s has been collaborative virtual engineering environments, human factors, model based systems engineering, sensory systems, systems engineering and advanced visualization.
The AVRRC is located in Loughborough University's Science and Enterprise park known as Holywell Park (see picture below).
Our aims are extremely ambitious and involve transforming the development and application of virtual engineering which encompases advanced modelling, simulation and visualization techniques in order to:
- Fully understand highly complex system behaviour (involving people, processes and technology) in order to predict performance and control emergent properties
- Apply innovative systems thinking and human factors knowledge to provide effective solutions to extremely difficult and often intractable system problems
- Create highly reliable and verifiable models of systems and their sensors
- Develop advanced virtual engineering environments and relevant tools
- Develop optimal solutions through advanced visual analytics
- Transforming the analysis of big data
- Enhancing the experience in distributed collaborative environments.
We gratefully acknowledge all our research funders, sponsors, collaborators and partners. They have been extremely supportive and enthusiastic about our research.
We should also make special mention to the many companies who have very kindly donated some of the facilities that have enabled us to establish a world class centre.
The following list is not exhaustive:
Technology Strategy Board
ALES – Italy
CARMEC - Germany
EADS – France, Germany
HonorCode - USA
IBM - Israel
Israel Aerospace Industries
Jaguar Land Rover
Seven Trent Water
Thales - France
University College London
University of Nottingham
University of Oxford
INRIA – France
Rutherford Appleton Laboratories - STFC
Kings College London
University of Leeds
Stevens Institute - USA
Reality Grid collaborators
University of South Australia – Adelaide