Kalina is a principal research programmer and the lead of the Advanced Visualization Lab (AVL) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The AVL specializes in creating scientific data visualizations of 3D time-evolving datasets for the general public, often through films and documentaries such as “A Beautiful Planet” (IMAX), “Solar Superstorms” (fulldome), and “Seeing the Beginning of Time” (4K). The AVL coined the term “cinematic scientific visualization” to refer to scientific data visualized using Hollywood filmmaking techniques and technologies.
Kalina’s background is in computer science and she has a master’s degree from UIUC. Prior to her role managing the AVL, she was a senior research programmer specializing in writing computer graphics and data processing software for visualization of various types of massive scientific data obtained at supercomputer centers, such as Blue Waters. Her proudest achievement is making scientific visualization tools freely available to artists and scientists, through Ytini – an open-source middleware between the scientific analysis and visualization Python package, yt, and the visual effects software, Houdini.
Aside from working on films and computer graphics research, Kalina has also professionally developed Android apps and websites. She is also an amateur Beatles historian, makeup artist, musician, and UI/UX designer. Kalina is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion. She gave a talk at TEDxUIUC, a local chapter of the TED conference, describing her path as a woman engineer.