ATLAS in silico is a physically interactive and immersive virtual reality art+science installation.  It offers visitors a dream-like and aesthetic experience of the pioneering science of metagenomics and recent discoveries from the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition.  The project creates new forms of art new technologies for working with vast data and presents science in a way that is accessible playful‚ and meaningful for people of all ages.


Colorful graphics allow participants to interact with dynamic patterns in the data that change in response to their exploration


Expressive sound signatures allow participants to interact wtih dynamic patterns in the data that respond to their experience


Full-body motion enables participants to explore a vast data environment and interact with luminous graphics and sounds to reveal patterns in the data


Working across art and science the creative team developed new technologies for exploring and representing vast data to create ATLAS in silico


ATLAS in silico is the result of a dynamic art + science collaboration. It presents the entire first release of 17.4 million metagenomics sequences from the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition (GOS) in an installation blending virtual reality spatialized audio interactive computer graphics and full-body interaction. The dream-like and luminous interactive virtual environment enables participants to see hear and playfully interact with the metagenomics data. As they interact with dynamic patterns of light and sound participants explore a Scalable Metadata Environment (MDE) made from GOS data that spans from the scale of molecules to the scale of socio-economic trends. MDEs are one of the new technologies developed and prototyped in the creation of ATLAS in silico. They are 4D virtual environments structured by quantitative and qualitative metadata describing multidimensional data collections. Read more about MDEs in our publication section. To reflect similarities and differences in the underlying data or metadata such that patterns can be visually/aurally sorted by participants in an exploratory fashion the art+science team developed new methods for representing data across multiple scales in sound and graphics. Read more about our work with Scalable Auditory Data Signatures and meta-Shape Grammar Objects in our publication section. ATLAS in silico is an ongoing art+science project. Conceptualized and initiated while Ruth was at UCSD the team of collaborators spans new media art music composition data sonification virtual environments bioinformatics and computer graphics. As of 2014 Ruth has relocated to the University of North Texas and ATLAS in silico is entering a new and exciting phase of development. Well be posting updates with new team members and upcoming venues over the coming months.



  • All
  • 9e2
  • FILE Sáo Paulo
  • Ingenuity Festival 2008
  • Metadata Environment
  • MONA
  • Shape Grammar
  • Siggraph 2007
  • Siggraph 2009
  • Varrier


Research in large scale data and metadata environments is partially supported by the National Science Foundation under IIS-0841031 Any opinions findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Special Thanks

We are grateful to our many colleagues for their generous support assistance and contributions of time and expertise in consulting with us on this project.

Ramesh Rao Larry Smarr John Wooley Paul Gilna Steve Peltier Peter Otto Miller Puckette Greg Stuart Tom Defanti Bob Koomia Adam Godzik Iddo Friedberg Phil Papadoupolis Tim Kaiser Ilya Zaslavsky Matt Rodriguez Amit Majumdar Steve Cutchins Sutanu Sarkar Shlomo Dubnov Mason Katz Kayo Arima Krista Zehnder Helena Bristow Carolyn Staggs Lori Guardiano-Durkin Maryam Attari Diane Wynshaw-Boris Doug Ramsey Inga Kiddera Alex Matthews Deborah Estrin Dave Avery Jeff Goldman Terance Tashiro Jason Mitchell Jennie Guida Brian Schwartz

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