4:00 p.m. December 7, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: A show-and-tell talk in two parts: The first is the story of the creation of the world's largest book, Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom. The book itself is a 5x7 foot tome and was an early experiment in large-format fine art imaging. But the story is rich in dimensions beyond X and Y: the work was done in the early days of the film-to-digital transition, requiring innovations in GPS photography, web archiving of expeditionary imagery over several years, stimulating educational charity, and so on. We sought in a small way to capture and convey a record of life and culture in this most extraordinary kingdom. In the process, we made a dent in an important picture-archiving problem that is still poorly dealt with in commercial software. The second is a work in very early progress: 19-20-21 is a thrust to map, in the broadest sense, what is perhaps the single most profound megatrend reshaping the world today: the rise of supercities. We've drawn up a blitz plan to canvass 19 cities that will have populations of 20 million or more in the 21st century. This is the story of our world's intensely urban future: world culture is morphing rapidly from a bloody patchwork of countries and becoming a network of supercities. Urban agglomeration is going to continue, so we had better get good at it. But what sorts of comparative and useful pictures can be made to better understand what is happening? What new methods and systems are needed?
BIO: Michael Hawley has largely led a research and academic life. He is a pioneer of all things digital, with a career history including research work at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, IRCAM in Paris, and Lucasfilm in Marin County; industrial work with Steve Jobs at NeXT (for which he created among the first digital books and libraries); and nearly three decades of academic work at Yale and MIT (where he served on the faculty of the MIT Media Lab for many years). He serves or has served on a number of corporate and nonprofit boards, including Kodak, Color Kinetics, the Rutgers Jazz Institute, and is the founder of a small and impecunious 501(c)-3 educational charity called Friendly Planet. Michael's first love is music. He plays the piano, and in an emergency, can move it. He won the 2002 edition of the Van Cliburn competition and has performed with a handful of orchestras and as recitalist in many cities around the world, but he isn't making a living at that. Last year, he quietly lobbed his personal trove of over 14,000 PDF'ed piano scores — centuries of gorgeous keyboard music — out into various internet archives. Bet you can't find it.
4:00 p.m. November 13, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: Want to learn about everything that could go wrong (and does go wrong) in the workflow of a writer-photographer team of journalists who produce award-winning books about world culture, feed stories to the ten agents worldwide who license their work, and are married to one another? Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, authors of five "thinking people's photography books," offer a world-wide tour and relate behind-the-scenes stories from their recent book on global nutrition, Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. They will also discuss their use of Adobe products in current and future projects designed to increase awareness of global diversity and connections between people in the world.
BIO: Peter Menzel is a California-based freelance photojournalist whose work has appeared in many national and international publications including National Geographic, Life, Forbes, Fortune, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Discover, Smithsonian, Wired, The New York Times Magazine, Geo, Stern, Paris Match and Le Figaro. Menzel has dedicated a large part of his 35-year career building an impressive portfolio of hi-tech stories on subjects as varied as virtual reality, insect robots, lightning, DNA fingerprinting, micromachines and solar power and solar cars. Menzel's commitment to photography means he spends most of the year on the road shooting a story or researching the next assignment. Much of his work is self-initiated: his award-winning coverage of the Kuwait oil well fires ran as a 26-page cover story for German Geo, and his photo essay of the civil war in Somalia was one of the first to hit the press. Menzel has won numerous awards from the National Press Photographers Association, the World Press Photo Foundation and Communication Arts Magazine. His work has been exhibited at the United Nations, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the National Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science in Boston, the Tech Museum in San Jose, and at Visa Pour L'Image, the international photojournalism conference in Perpignan, France. His photographs are also part of the permanent collection at the International Center of Photography in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and at Copia: the American Center for Art, Food, and Wine in Napa, California.
Faith D'Aluisio, a former award-winning television news producer, is co-author of Women in the Material World (Sierra Club Books, 1996) with photojournalist Peter Menzel. This book, which explores the lives of women around the world, builds upon the documentary work of Peter Menzel's first bestseller, Material World: A Global Family Portrait, to which she contributed. In 1996, Women in the Material World was named one of the year's Ten Best Books for the Teenaged by the New York Public Library. In 1998 the team published Man Eating Bugs: the Art and Science of Eating Insects, a worldwide look at the human consumption of insects. This critically acclaimed book, a Material World Book imprint distributed by Ten Speed Press, won the 1999 James Beard Award for Reference and Writings on Food. Their latest book-released in November 2005 is another around-the-world exploration of average daily life in 24 countries, this time focusing on food. Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, details each family's weekly food purchases and average daily life. The centerpiece of each chapter is a portrait of the entire family surrounded by a week's worth of groceries accompanied by interviews and detailed grocery lists. Gourmet Magazine Executive Editor and former New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl wrote, "The world will be a much better place when everyone reads this book."
The Big Challenges for Interactive Computer Graphics
4:00pm, October 1, 2007, Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: There are big challenges and little challenges in computer graphics. The big challenges are the ones that change our world, and that we remember for the rest of our lives. Who can forget the first time they saw a believable CG character, or environment, or major new effect? But who can remember the 100th or 1000th time they saw the same thing? This talk looks back on some of the big moments in computer graphics of the last 25 years, reflects on how things that seem amazing and impossible become commonplace, then, with the help of videos of current cutting edge work, looks ahead to the big, world-changing creative opportunities in real time, interactive computer animation for games. (Based on Glenn Entis's SIGGRAPH 2007 Featured Presentation).
BIO: Glenn Entis is responsible for setting EA's overall graphics and technical strategy, and for leading the community of over 3,000 talented artists and engineers at EA's studios worldwide. He is also a member of the WW Studios executive team that oversees all aspects of the development of EA games. Before EA, Entis was a co-founder of PDI (now PDI/DreamWorks) and CEO of DreamWorks Interactive. In addition to his professional achievements, Entis serves on the Board of Governors for the Emily Carr College of Art and on the Advisory Board for the Masters of Digital Media, a new graduate program at Great Northern Way in Vancouver.
All Questions Answered
4:00 p.m. September 17, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: The speaker will answer any question about any subject. [Don adds, "The audience will be aware that the answers will be my best shot, although they'll have somewhat less credibility than a Wikipedia article."]
BIO: Donald E. Knuth (B.S. and M.S., Case Institute of Technology 1960; Ph.D., California Institute of Technology 1963) is Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University, where he supervised the Ph.D. dissertations of 28 students since becoming a professor in 1968. He is the author of numerous books, including three volumes (so far) of The Art of Computer Programming, five volumes of Computers & Typesetting, and a non-technical book entitled 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated. His software systems TeX and MF are extensively used for book publishing throughout the world. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering, and he is a foreign associate of the French, Norwegian, and Bavarian science academies as well as the Royal Society of London. He received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1974; the National Medal of Science from President Carter in 1979; the Steele Prize from the American Mathematical Society in 1986; the Adelsköld Medal from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1994; the Harvey Prize from the Technion of Israel in 1995; the John von Neumann Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in 1995; and the Kyoto Prize from the Inamori Foundation in 1996. He holds honorary doctorates from Oxford University, the University of Paris, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the University of St. Petersburg, the University of Marne-la-Vallée, Masaryk University, St. Andrews University, Athens University of Economics and Business, the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, the University of Tübingen, the University of Oslo, and eighteen colleges and universities in America.
Comics: A Medium in Transition
4:00 p.m. August 21, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: American comics are changing fast. Bolstered by the literary ambitions of the "graphic novel" movement, a flood of international influences and the growing importance of new technologies, the comics landscape shifts regularly in surprising and increasingly unpredictable directions. Author and comics artist Scott McCloud puts all these trends into perspective in a fast-moving visual presentation.
BIO: Scott McCloud has been writing and drawing independent comic books since 1984. His book Understanding Comics was a New York Times Notable book for 1994, is available in 15 languages, and was referred to by Macintosh co-creator Andy Hertzfeld as "...one of the most insightful books about designing graphic user interfaces ever written...". McCloud has lectured on comics and digital media at Harvard University, Pixar Animation Studios, Microsoft and The Smithsonian Institution. His 5-Day Seminar in making comics was most recently held at MIT. McCloud's online comics can be found atscottmccloud.com."
Working in the Sweet Spot: Creating Research that Works for Industry 7
4:00pm, July 31, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: What determines a researcher's agenda? For many of the best and the brightest, the agenda comes from their academic community. What is it going to take to get a paper into that great conference? Academic conferences play a vital role, insuring that research is novel, exciting, and well thought out.
What determines a product roadmap? For great products, the agenda comes from users needs both now and in the future.
The intersection is the sweet spot. Companies need to hire, and reward, researchers that work on both agendas at the same time. Defining and solving problems that not only yield great papers, but are also responsive to your user's needs. The sweet spot is not an easy place to play, since the intersection is harder to hit than either target alone.
I will illustrate with examples of sweet spot research from my own work and perhaps a few others.
By the end of the talk I hope to leave you with the tools to evaluate corporate research, and researchers, and the means to guide research toward success in a corporate environment.
BIO: As a Principal Scientist, Paul Viola heads two teams: one working on technology for document processing and information extraction, and a second team working on image understanding algorithms.
The information extraction folks work with Live Search to improve query processing and search results. In collaboration with the Live Toolbar team we built the technology behind "smart menus". The Tablet PC team uses our technology to extract the structure in handwritten ink notes.
The image understanding folks have worked with the RoundTable team to detect people in teleconferencing video. MSN uses our technology to find and flag inappropriate image uploads. We are working with Live Image Search and a number of other teams in MSN.
Paul has served on the program committees of conferences such as Neural Information Process Systems (NIPS), Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), and the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV). He has received the Marr Prize for the best paper in computer vision (at ICCV 2003) and an honorable mention for the Marr prize in 1995. He received an honorable mention for best paper at AAAI 2004. While at MIT he received the NSF Career award as one of the top junior faculty members in Computer Science.
Pirates of the Caribbean: A Visual Effects Voyage
4:00 p.m. June 26, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: Academy-award winner John Knoll will discuss the visual effects for the three Pirates of the Caribbean films: how they were done, and how they evolved over the years. He will also describe how Adobe tools like Photoshop were used in the process — and why there were not used in some cases.
BIO: John Knoll is an Academy-award winning motion picture visual effects specialist at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). One of the original creators of Adobe Photoshop (along with his brother, Thomas), he is recently best known for his work as Visual Effects Supervisor on the Star Wars prequels and the 1997 special editions of the original trilogy. He also served as ILM's visual effects supervisor for Star Trek: Generations and Star Trek: First Contact, as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
Navigating the World's Photographs
4:00 p.m. May 1, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: There's a big difference between looking at a photograph of a place and being there. But what if you had access to a database of every *possible* image of that place and could conjure up any view at will? With billions of photographs currently available online, the Internet is beginning to resemble such a database, capturing most of the world's significant sites from a huge number of vantage points and viewing conditions. For example, a Google image search for "notre dame" or "grand canyon" each returns more than half a million photos, showing the sites from myriad viewpoints, different times of day and night, and changes in season, weather and decade.
This talk explores ways of transforming this massive, unorganized photo collection into 3D scene visualizations of the world's sites, cities, and landscapes. After a brief recap of our work on Photo Tourism and Photosynth, I will focus on current efforts and newest results, in the domains of large scale image matching, 3D reconstruction, and new visual interfaces for navigating photo collections.
BIO: Steven Seitz is Short-Dooley Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. He received his B.A. in computer science and mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1991 and his Ph.D. in computer sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1997. Following his doctoral work, he spent one year visiting the Vision Technology Group at Microsoft Research, and subsequently two years as an Assistant Professor in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He joined the faculty at the University of Washington in July 2000. He was twice awarded the David Marr Prize for the best paper at the International Conference of Computer Vision, and has received an NSF Career Award, an ONR Young Investigator Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship. Professor Seitz is interested in problems in computer vision and computer graphics. His current research focuses on capturing the structure, appearance, and behavior of the real world from digital imagery.
The Role of the Scientific Method in Software Development
4:00 p.m. April 3, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: This talk argues for a return to the scientific method as an essential ingredient for future success in algorithm design and in software development. The talk is centered on the behavior of algorithms for finding a path from a source to a destination in a graph, an operation that is critical in a broad variety of applications, from statistical physics to combinatorial optimization to image processing. Numerous elementary algorithms can find a path in time proportional to the number of edges in the graph, but the basic performance characteristics of these algorithms are actually poorly understood. Developing such understanding leads to the discovery of new approaches that are dramatically more effective than those in common use. This example illustrates that software developers and algorithm designers who depend upon theoretical results instead of scientific studies to evaluate algorithms are taking risks and missing opportunities.
BIO: Robert Sedgewick is the William O. Baker Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University, where he has been on the faculty since 1985 and was the founding Chair of the Department of Computer Science. Prof. Sedgewick received the Ph.D. degree from Stanford University in 1975, served on the faculty at Brown University from 1975 to 1985, and has held visiting research positions at Xerox PARC, Palo Alto, CA, Institute for Defense Analyses, Princeton, NJ, and INRIA, Rocquencourt, France. He is a member of the board of directors of Adobe Systems. Prof. Sedgewick's research interests include mathematical analysis of algorithms, design of data structures and algorithms, and program visualization. He has published widely in these areas and is the author of several books, including a widely-used series of textbooks on algorithms that has sold over one-half million copies. He is currently working with Kevin Wayne on a new introductory computer science text and with Philippe Flajolet on a new graduate text on analytic combinatorics, both scheduled to appear in 2007.
Prior, Context and Interactive Computer Vision
4:00 p.m. March 5, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: Established in November 1998, Microsoft Research Asia (MSR Asia) was named "the world's hottest computer lab" by MIT Technology Review (June 2004). Today, MSR Asia employs 300 computer scientists and software engineers, plus 350 interns from China and around the world. In a short period of eight years, MSR Asia has published 1500 high quality papers in top international conferences and journals. More than 200 technologies from the lab have been incorporated into Microsoft products. MSR Asia is now the most desirable work place for the best computer science and engineering students in China. In this talk, I will give an overview of our activities in basic research including user interface, digital media, digital entertainment, system and networking, web search and data mining, and theoretical computer science. I will introduce our best practices in successfully transferring technologies into Microsoft products despite MSR Asia being thousands of miles away from product teams in Redmond. I shall also discuss how we build trusted relationships with universities and governments in China and in Asia. Finally, I will share some of our secrets to success and lessons we have learned.
In the second part of my talk, I will present "Prior, Context and Interactive Computer Vision." For many years, computer vision researchers have worked hard chasing illusive goals such as "Can the robot find a boy in the scene?" or "Can your vision system automatically segment the cat from the background?" These tasks require a lot of prior knowledge and contextual information. How to incorporate prior knowledge and contextual information into vision systems, however, is very challenging. In this talk, I propose that many difficult vision tasks can only be solved with interactive vision systems, by combining powerful and real-time vision techniques with intuitive and clever user interfaces. I will show two interactive vision systems we developed recently, Lazy Snapping (SIGGRAPH 2004) and Image Completion (SIGGRAPH 2005), where Lazy Snapping cuts out an object with a solid boundary using graph cut, while Image Completion recovers unknown regions with belief propagation. A key element in designing such interactive systems is how we model the user's intention using conditional probability (context) and likelihood associated with user interactions. Given how ill-posed most image understanding problems are, I am convinced that interactive computer vision is the paradigm we should focus today's vision research on.
BIO: Harry Shum brings his extensive research skills, excellent management capabilities and outstanding academic background to Microsoft Research Asia, Microsoft Corporation's basic research arm in Asia. As the Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia, Shum overseas research activities and collaborations with universities in the Asia Pacific region. Shum is also a Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft Corporation. A Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Shum is on its editorial board of Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI), and the International Journal of Computer Vision (IJCV). He served as a general co-chairman of the Tenth IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV 2005 Beijing). Shum has published more than 100 papers on computer vision, computer graphics, pattern recognition, statistical learning and robotics, and has received more than 20 U.S. patents. Shum is a co-author of the book, Image-Based Rendering, published by Springer in 2006. Shum received a doctorate in robotics from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.
Interactive Smart Computers
4:00 p.m. February 20, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: Current user interfaces are not very smart in that computers dumbly do what the user explicitly commands them to do via buttons or menus. As computers become more capable and applications become complicated, more smart user interfaces are desired. We are exploring possible smart user interfaces in the domain of pen-based computing and interactive 2D/3D graphics. The idea is to allow the user to intuitively express his/her intention in the form of freeform strokes, and have the computer take appropriate actions without explicit commands. This talk consists of many live demonstrations to illustrate the idea of interactive smart interfaces. I plan to show a 2D geometric drawing program, an electronic whiteboard system, sketch-based 3D modeling, automatic zooming, clothing manipulation interfaces, two-handed manipulation of drawings, and other interesting systems.
BIO: Takeo Igarashi is an associate professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Tokyo. He was a post doctoral research associate at the Brown University Computer Graphics Group during June 2000 – Feb 2002. He received his Ph.D from the Department of Information Engineering at the University of Tokyo in 2000. He also worked at Xerox PARC, Microsoft Research, and CMU as a student intern. His research interest is in user interfaces in general, and his current focus is on interaction techniques for 2D/3D graphics. He received the SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award in 2006.
The Gigapxl™ Project
4:00 p.m. January 30, 2007 Park Auditorium
ABSTRACT: The Gigapxl™ Project combines cutting edge large-format photography with digital scanning to create ultra-high-resolution images that can be captured at rates on the order of 30,000,000,000,000 bits per second. Achieving such rates calls for the careful balancing of many factors; especially factors related to atmospheric blurring, lens aberrations, film granularity, and image pixelation. In addition to our pursuit of ever-increasing information content, a near-term goal of the Gigapxl™ Project is the production of an ultra-high-resolution Portrait of America; the scope of which already extends to about 800 sites in the U.S. and Canada. A longer-term goal is to document for future generations the endangered archaeological and cultural areas which appear on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites list (830 properties).
BIO: A physicist by profession, Graham Flint has sought to bring the perspective of a physicist to other fields; especially to architecture, astronomy, medicine, military science, photography, and, most recently, to information display. Early in his career, he was co-inventor of the world's first infrared laser rangefinder, after which he pioneered the application of lasers in areas as diverse as eye surgery and space-based weaponry. In the context of photography, he has designed cameras for applications which range from cold-war espionage to the Hubble Space Telescope. He has published more than a hundred technical papers and holds a dozen patents. Graham has held positions as Chief of Lockheed Martin's Laser Devices Laboratory, as Executive Vice President of International Laser Systems, and as Director of the Air Force's Developmental Optics Facility. Most recently, and until joining the ranks of the semi-retired, he served as President and CEO of Photera Technologies, a California-based corporation specializing in ultra-high-resolution imagery and laser digital cinema. Along the way, he has been Chairman of the Laser Division of the U.S. Electronic Industries Association and Co-chairman of the Channel Islands Alternate Energy Commission. As an avocational endeavor, he has pursued the Gigapxl™ Project, a project which brings together the cutting edges of photographic optics, film technology, and digital processing so as to create landscape photographs which contain unprecedented amounts of information.
With a background in Fine Arts, Anthropology and Geology, Catherine Aves brings a multidisciplinary perspective to the Gigapxl™ Project. The founding of her desktop publishing business, TechEditions, in 1989 was prefaced by nearly 20 years experience in positions which included Technical Editor for the Air Force's Developmental Optics Facility, Office Manager and Editor for several environmental research organizations, and Document Specialist for the Albuquerque Cultural Resources Division of the Bureau of Land Management. During recent years, she has become intimately familiar with the sophisticated aspects both of Adobe Photoshop and of pigment ink printing; especially with those aspects which relate to ultra-high-resolution imagery. Working closely with engineers in the computer software and digital printing fields, she has used Gigapxl's multi-gigabyte native-resolution files to exercise their latest versions of software and hardware and to emphasize the need for digital processing tools which can handle ever-increasing file size.