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Dailey gets e-mail to aid European Union

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Become an expert and the world will beat a path to your door is proving true for Slippery Rock University's David Dailey, professor of computer science and a recognized leader in SVG - scalable vector graphics - the new rage in computer-generated graphics.

Dailey, who recently led a contingent of fellow faculty and SRU students to the Microsoft and Google-sponsored SVG Open in Paris, France, is now helping computer experts throughout the European Union and other nations learn more about the expanding world of SVG.

"I was just sitting at my desk when I received an e-mail from a fellow at the World Wide Web Consortium asking me to offer an online course about SVG," Dailey said.

The W3C has contracted with the ERCIM - the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics - to teach such courses, he said.

ERCIM's mission includes providing "advice on IT strategy to the European Union and Member States."

The SVG teaching program, the first of its kind, ties directly to Dailey's extensive work with the World Wide Web Consortium, the organization behind operation of the Web and responsible for setting standards that allow computer programmers and Web developers around the world to write applications for the Web that followed agreed upon protocols.

Dailey won SRU's President's Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement for his book "An SVG Primer for Today's Browsers," which was the first book ever commissioned by the consortium and is being used as a primary resource for those writing programs involving SVG.

Scalable vector graphics are used to transform how spatial data is developed, analyzed and disseminated through the World Wide Web and through a range of hand-held devices.

Dailey said the biggest benefit of SVG is that it allows graphics - charts, photographs, graphic art - to appear correctly and in direct proportion on a viewer's screen without distortion no matter the screen size - small cell phone to billboard, or larger.

SVG is an open standard that allows for creation of effective and compelling Web content, Dailey said. The system makes use of high-quality, interactive, animated and stylable graphics on the Web by using human-readable XML coding.

The use of SVG is making what is being called "2.5-D" graphics, just short of 3-D, possible on computers. Microsoft Corp. has announced the next release of its Internet Explorer software will include SVG support. A number of other browser software programs have already incorporated SVG options.

Dailey, who joined the SRU faculty in 1999, said his latest project is focusing on how SVG applies to simple graphics, special effects, animation and programming. "I will devote one lesson to each of the topics," he said.

"Thus far we've seen an exceptional group of programmers participating. Eighty people are enrolled from 13 nations of the EU along with eight others from outside the EU, including a large contingent from Costa Rica. Anyone could sign up for the course, but the emphasis was primarily to computer people in the European Union," he said.

Specifically, participants are enrolled from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, all in the EU. Others are enrolled from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the U.S., and the San Jose, Costa Rica, group.

"Most of the students are employed as professional Web designers and programmers, graphics artists and data analysts. One runs the Web site for his nation's central bank," Dailey said.

He said many signed up because SVG is the new technology hitting the Internet and they want to know its implications and potential.

There is also the potential for offering similar programs for other countries, including possibly China, Dailey said.

Dailey uses a system called "Moodle," that is similar to the classroom teaching system Desire 2 Learn used at SRU, to present the online, interactive classes.