Digital Hammurabi Announcement

From: Dean Snyder (
Date: Thu Apr 25 2002 - 16:31:26 EDT

The Digital Hammurabi project of The Johns Hopkins University is happy to
announce that we have just been awarded more than $1.5 million by the
National Science Foundation of the U.S. government to begin, over the
next 3 years, the development of hardware, software, and digital library
infrastructure for the capture, archiving, and transmission over the
Internet of very high resolution 3 dimensional virtual cuneiform tablets.
When completed, cuneiform scholars will be able to collate tablets at
their desks on their own computers using very high resolution digital 3D
images of tablets scanned from museum collections around the world.

Digital Hammurabi is a joint project of several Hopkins institutions -
the Near Eastern Studies Department, the Applied Physics Laboratory, the
Computer Science Department, and the Center for Scholarly Resources of
the University Libraries.

Specific, long-term goals of the project include:

production of a portable, very high resolution 3D surface scanner that
can scan all facets of a
cuneiform tablet in under a minute at 10 micrometer resolution (at least
4 times finer than current

development of cross-platform software to stitch gigabytes of raw data
together into coherent, virtual
tablets for optimal real-time rendering and manipulation over the
Internet via new multi-resolution
algorithms, shape-on-shape imaging, and shadow generation

establishment of a leading international digital library with a
petabyte scale archive of virtual 3D
cuneiform tablets processed for rapid Internet2 delivery

development of an international standard computer encoding for Sumero-
Akkadian cuneiform, in continuing collaboration with cuneiformists and
Unicode experts (Initiative for Cuneiform Encoding - <

invention of a completely new technology - automated 3D character
recognition of cuneiform writing

We would like to thank those cuneiformists and Unicode experts who have
given early and timely support and encouragement to the Digital Hammurabi
and Initiative for Cuneiform Encoding projects. We are excited, and
eager, to cooperate with the entire international community of cuneiform
scholars and Unicode experts in the development and deployment of these
ground breaking technologies that will revolutionize cuneiform studies.

We are scheduled to present at the Rencontre Assyriologique
Internationale in Leiden this July, and will look forward to meeting with
you there.

And finally, we will soon announce the availability of our website for
more detailed information.

Jerry Cooper, Professor of Near Eastern Studies
Dean A. Snyder, Senior Information Technology Specialist

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