Why ‘LIATe’ (and can I get one at Starbucks)?

LIATe is a term from mathematics, often called “Integration by Parts”. It’s a heuristic rule that helps transform the integral of products of functions into other integrals. It can be derived by integrating the product rule of differentiation (wiki) If u = f(x), v = g(x), and the differentials du = f ‘(x) dx and dv = g'(x) dx, then integration by parts states. When solving, one must decide which function to try first, and follow the rule:

L: Logarithmic functions
I : 
Inverse trigonometric functions
Algebraic functions
Trigonometric functions
Exponential functions

The reference helps underscore the math behind the art

Facts about our LIATe: 

  • Total pixel count (projection + control):  15 million 
  • Peak pixel calculation: 900 million pixels/second
  • System processing power: ~40 TFLOPS


The Theatre now runs on only computer, an Mac Pro, and external GPU cards. By writing programs that shift the computational load from the CPUs to the four GPUs, LIATe can generate up to 900 million 32-bit pixels per second, and has a combined processing power of around 10 TFLOPS (trillion floating-point operations per second) – that of a supercomputer not long ago.

Original softeware

Virtually all software used for audio and visual processing in the lab is programmed in house, largely in the MAX programming environment. LIATE’s software is programmed specifically for the multichannel audio and video configuration of the lab, and is not constrained by host-plugin configurations


LIATe’s screens are high tech. Designed by DNP of Japan, they are an optical instrument, like a giant lens, magnifying light from some angles (the projectors) and rejecting light from others (the room). Far from being just a spray painted surface over a cloth substrate, they are a multi-layered optical element rated for use with the 4k standard (twice that of HD, or 4 million pixels/image). Their extremely high gain (2.3) allows us to run our projectors in ‘eco-mode’, which is less bright but quieter and conserving of both power and bulb-life.


For it non-oxidation and easy maintenance, gold connectors are used exclusively in the control room, from the back of the mic through to the speaker connections. The patch bay also uses gold connectors.