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Silicon Graphics Announces Cosmo 3D - Aug 1996

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Technology Brings High-Performance 3D and VRML 2.0 Capabilities to the Internet and the Desktop

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (August 1, 1996) - Silicon Graphics, Inc. (NYSE: SGI) today announced the introduction of Cosmo 3D, a new platform-independent graphics toolkit that brings ultra high-performance, real-time, 3D applications to the Internet and the desktop. Implemented in C++, this toolkit supports over 30 leading graphics file formats, including the Internet-standard Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML 2.0) and is accessible to JavaTM applications through efficient Java bindings. Silicon Graphics' Cosmo 3D enables Internet developers to incorporate dynamic 3D worlds, collaborative design environments, and virtual characters with spatialized and synchronized audio into their World Wide Web applications.

Cosmo 3D has been designed to be independent of its underlying rendering architecture, thus enabling maximum portability across all hardware platforms. Developed concurrently on both mainstream personal computers (PCs), as well as high-end professional workstations, Cosmo 3D provides extensive scalability. To achieve maximum performance on mainstream PCs, Cosmo 3D leverages the advanced features of Cosmo GLTM. Also announced today by Silicon Graphics, Cosmo GL is a highly optimized, fully compliant version of OpenGL for Pentium-based Windows 95 and Windows NT® PCs.

"Having created the market for 3D graphics, Silicon Graphics is making the magic of interactive, real-time computing pervasive on low-cost platforms and on the Web," said Kai-Fu Lee, vice president of Silicon Graphics' Web Products Division. "With Cosmo 3D, Internet developers can now utilize this expertise to bring experiential technology, such as VRML 2.0 to any user on the Web."

In 1995, Java emerged as the mechanism for developing portable applications for the Web. Early in 1996, the industry approval of Silicon Graphics' Moving Worlds proposal for VRML 2.0 as the file format standard for interactive 3D graphics on the Web, moved the promise for pervasive 3D graphics on the Internet closer to reality. Today's introduction of the Cosmo 3D VRML 2.0 graphics toolkit puts the final piece in place for creating and delivering compelling 3D content on the World Wide Web.

"Cosmo 3D puts the power and rich feature set of VRML 2.0 directly in developers' hands," said Kris Hagerman, chief executive officer of BigBook, Inc. "Cosmo 3D will play a key role in our VRML 2.0 content development efforts, allowing us to build higher-performance and more compelling 3D environments."

In addition to enabling 3D on the Web, Cosmo 3D provides high-performance 3D graphics technology to developers of powerful desktop applications. With advanced features such as a scene graph architecture with geometric morphing, view culling, levels of detail (LOD), 3D audio and texture mapping, Cosmo 3D enables the development of professional character animation and visual simulation applications.

"Cosmo 3D is a very powerful toolkit. In under 3 weeks we created a VActorTM interactive 3D character running as a Java applet," said Mike Fusco, co-founder and vice president of software for SimGraphics Engineering Corporation. "The Java binding of Cosmo 3D is very easy to use and is robust enough to handle the needs of real-time character animation."

Cosmo 3D also provides a native implementation for Java3D, the 3D graphics component of the Java virtual machine, by providing an efficient Java binding between a Java application and the natively-compiled Cosmo 3D libraries. Java3D is a graphics application programming interface (API) specification currently being defined through a joint effort by Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, Intel, and Apple Computer.

Cosmo 3D may be licensed from Silicon Graphics for all platforms and will be available in beta for developers early this Fall with first customer shipments before the end of the year. For more information visit the World Wide Web site,

Silicon Graphics, Inc. is a leading supplier of high-performance visual and enterprise computing systems. The company's products range from low-end desktop workstations to servers and high-end Cray supercomputers. Silicon Graphics also markets MIPS' microprocessor designs, Alias|Wavefront entertainment software and other software products. The company's key markets include the world wide web, government, commercial, industrial and entertainment sectors. Silicon Graphics and its subsidiaries have offices throughout the world and headquarters in Mountain View, California.