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Created: May 03, 2002.
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College Students Receive Awards for New XML Web Services Applications.

Awards were announced for three innovative Web Services applications developed by students in a Microsoft '.NET Best Student Awards 2001 Contest'. (1) RenderFarm.NET (University of Minnesota Twin Cities) "is a Web service designed to process and render high-resolution 3-D scenes and animation sequences to a variety of image file formats and movies. It accepts 3-D data in the form of XML and returns a URL where the finished product will be available. RenderFarm.NET allows anyone to create and render beautiful 3-D scenes and animation sequences regardless of the hardware configuration or software solution." (2) SkyQuery (Johns Hopkins University) "provides a distributed query execution system for the world's astronomy community, which will enable them to run combined queries on the existing heterogeneous astronomy archives. SkyQuery will provide a simple, user-friendly interface to run distributed queries over the federation of registered astronomical archives. SkyQuery will not only provide location transparency, but also will take care of vertical fragmentation of the data and will run the query efficiently to minimize query execution costs." (3) BrainWebber QA (University of Bridgeport) is "a subscription-based defect tracking system that allows users to manage defects (bugs) using a wide range of applications and devices. These applications and devices access data about defects using BrainWebber QA Web Services and then render the data to provide a customized interface to end users. The students used a variety of technologies, tools and open industry standards to create innovative Web services, including XML, SOAP, UDDI, WSDL, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, DirectX application programming interface, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET."

RenderFarm.NET First Place and People's Choice Award Winner. University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Moe Khosravy and Saeed Akhter. "RenderFarm.NET is an XML Web Service designed to process and render high resolution 3D scenes and animations to a variety of image file formats and movies. The data can come from high-end 3D modeling packages or Microsoft Notepad, since this is the first 3D render server built on XML as native data." See the tutorial. In order to make this web service a reality, we needed to utilize a wide variety of technologies. Some of these technologies include: Maya 4.0 C++ API, Direct3D 8.1 C++ API, ASP.NET, Web Services, SOAP, Serialization, COM DLLs/.NET object interpolation (for Maya plugins), C# and Managed C++/unmanaged C++ (for DirectX performance optimizations), Microsoft Windows Media SDK, .NET Remoting, and MSI installers. The entire project was developed using Microsoft Visual Studio.NET."

SkyQuery Second Place Winner. Johns Hopkins University. Tanu Malik, Ani Thakar, and Tamas Budavari. "SkyQuery is an XML-based web service for multi-source syndication and process integration of astronomical database querying. It is the world's first service that allows astronomers to run combined queries, using an enhanced query language on the distributed, heterogeneous, and dynamically evolving astronomical archives in existence. Using SkyQuery, professional and amateur astronomers can now access databases that map the sky in different wavelenghts, use different taxonomies, support different interfaces, are at different geographical locations, and are built on different techonologies and run combined queries predicated on attributes in the different archives and including advanced features such as cross matching and dropout elimination using an interface as simple and friendly as a common web browser. The importance of a service like SkyQuery for the worldwide astronomical community cannot be overstated: Astronomical data on the same astronomical objects residing in various archives is mapped in different wavelength ranges and looks very different due to the different errors, instrument sensitivities and other peculiarities of the data acquisition and calibration processes used for each archive..."

BrainWebber QA Third Place Winner. University of Bridgeport. Sivashankar Sangarapillai. "BrainWebber QA is a subscription based defect tracking system that allows subscribing companies to manage project defects and tasks using wide range of applications and devices. These devices and applications access defect data using BrainWebber QA Web Services and then render the data to provide a customized interface to end users. Using the BrainWebber QA Simulator page, you can send and receive SOAP messages to and from the BrainWebber QA Web Services. Select a command, modify the SOAP request message, and click the process request button to execute the Web Method associated with that command... BrainWebber QA Web Services can be accessed from any web server capable of processing SOAP messages... BrainWebber QA Web Services can be used to create powerful Voice XML application, allowing users to acess the data using a regular touch-tone telephone..."

Principal references:

  • Announcement 2002-05-03: "Microsoft Announces Contest Winners for .NET Best Student Awards 2001. Contest Demonstrates Future XML Web Services Leadership At North American Colleges and Universities."
  • RenderFarm.NET: First Place and People's Choice Award Winner.
  • SkyQuery. Second Place Winner.
  • BrainWebber QA. Third Place Winner .

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