Psychologists tell us that after horrific events, such as the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US and the November 26 terror strikes in Mumbai, people tend to react initially with shock, fear, confusion, sadness, and anger, but then they want to take some kind of action. This urge to do something may result from a desire for revenge, but it also stems from a need people have to regain control of a situation, and to do so in the most effective way possible, using whatever special expertise they can bring to bear. This was certainly true for me. If he response about how computer graphics technologies can be used to stop terrorism—is any indication, it was also true for many others in the computer graphics community, though I’m sure pure altruism and patriotism on the part of the respondents were major factors as well.
The response was impressive. Some 70 respondents offered innovative ideas for employing computer graphics tools and techniques in a host of applications, ranging from improving airline safety and enhancing emergency-response training to employing counter-terrorist measures and raising consciousness about the precursors and aftermath of terrorism.