The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Laboratory for Advanced Visualization & Applications (LAVA) was founded on January 1, 2014 by Jason Leigh- director Emeritus of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The mission of LAVA is to conduct research and development in big data visualization techniques, and to apply these techniques in cutting edge domain science, engineering, and training applications.

LAVA is a core laboratory of the Hawaii Data Science Institute which serves the data intensive science, engineering and training needs of UH’s 10 campuses (Mānoa, Hilo, West O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Community College, Honolulu Community College, Kapi‘olani Community College, Kaua‘i Community College, Leeward Community College, Maui Community College, Windward Community College).

LAVA consists of 1200 square feet of space equipped with the world’s highest resolution hybrid reality visualization system (the Destiny CyberCANOE) as well as numerous ultra high resolution stereoscopic 3D and 2D, touch-enabled display walls, Head Mounted Displays and Augmented Reality Displays. These systems are connected to a 10 gigabit/s network link, which gives LAVA access to 100 gigabit/s bandwidth to the US and Australia. 


The LAVA logo comprises three streams of triangles that focus towards the point of a wave to resemble lava. The logo draws inspiration from a combination of data visualization iconography and polynesian tattoo art. In both data visualization and polynesian tattoo, the goal is storytelling. Triangles were the earliest means of depicting vector information in scientific data visualization- for example when representing the direction of wind, lava, or ocean currents.  In polynesian tattoo art, the triangle represents the shark’s tooth, a symbol of protection, strength and courage- which are often depicted as rows of stylized triangles such as the one used in the LAVA logo.