BYU's supercomputer facility greatly enhances research and teaching for both students and faculty. Funded by the university and donors Ira A. and Mary Lou Fulton, supercomputers are available at no cost to students and faculty for projects such as modeling languages, comparing long sequences of DNA and studying the gravitational collapse of stars and the formation of black holes.
To enhance the output of much of the work done on the high-powered machines, the university also built a million-dollar virtual reality screening room that gives viewers the impression that projected images are floating in the middle of the room about halfway between the viewers and the screen.
The theater is used for industrial design work and for testing and screening student animation projects. Using the supercomputers, students created the animated short films "Lemmings," "PetShop," "Faux Paw," "Noggin," "Turtles," "Las Piñatas," "Pajama Gladiator," "Kites," "X-ing," and "DreamGiver," which have all won "student Emmys." "Lemmings," "Turtles," "Pajama Gladiator," and "Kites" also won "student Academy Awards." Animation program alumni have worked on such movies as "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the second generation of "Star Wars" films, among other Hollywood blockbusters.