Title: Reflections on The Unfinished Revolutions in Computing
Abstract: 2019 marks the 50th anniversaries of the momentous events of 1968-1969 in the US. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. Hippie “flower power” and the closely related anti-Vietnam war movement were social revolutions. Against this turmoil, technology gave us hope. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Doug Engelbart and his team presented the “Mother of All Demos” of NLS at the ’68 Fall Joint Computer Conference. At the same conference, graphics pioneer Ivan Sutherland presented a paper on “a head-mounted three dimensional display.” These two landmark events launched revolutions in personal computing in very different ways, but each featuring interactive graphics, the focus of my research career. What I did not predict at the time is that 50 years later, the revolution in human-centered computing would remain unfinished, and that it is both unfinished and in jeopardy for technical as well as social reasons. I will interweave six technical visions and some of the visionaries that have inspired my research. My group and I have concentrated for the past decade on the natural intersection of interactive graphics used for human-computer interaction and hypertext. While these six visions can be characterized by catch phrases of well-known personalities, there are much earlier antecedents. I picked “Information at Your Fingertips”, Personal Computing, Information Management and Structures, “Connecting the World“, “UBIcomp”, and “Natural User Interfaces". To motivate the kind of system we should strive for, I will give a scenario of a device-independent integrated system encompassing key aspects of these visions that is seamless and ubietous (in the Buxton sense). Then I will talk about how far we still have to go in component technologies and integration to achieve that vision. Finally, I will connect these technical visions to largely unanticipated societal issues that I find that we as technologists must urgently help address.
Bio: Andries van Dam is the Thomas J. Watson Jr. University Professor of Technology and Education and Professor of Computer Science at Brown University. He has been a member of Brown's faculty since 1965, was a co-founder of Brown's Computer Science Department and its first Chairman from 1979 to 1985, and was also Brown's first Vice President for Research from 2002 - 2006. His research includes work on computer graphics, hypermedia systems, post-WIMP and natural user interfaces (NUI), including pen- and touch-computing, and educational software. He has been involved for five decades with systems for creating and reading electronic books with interactive illustrations for use in teaching and research.In 1967 Prof. van Dam co-founded ACM SICGRAPH (the precursor of SIGGRAPH) and from 1985 through 1987 was Chairman of the Computing Research Association. He is a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, and AAAS, a member of the SIGGRAPH Academy, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has received the ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award, the SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award for Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics, and the IEEE Centennial Medal, and holds honorary doctorates from Darmstadt Technical University, Swarthmore College, the University of Waterloo, and ETH Zurich. He has authored or co-authored over 100 papers and nine books, including "Fundamentals of Interactive Computer Graphics" and three editions of "Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice".
Title: Advances in Rendering, Graphics Research and Video Game Production
Abstract: Life as a graphics programmer in video games is often about finding matches. On the one hand, there are the requirements of production, the demands of content creators, and the visual deficiencies in your final image. On the other hand, a continual stream of exciting new research in the field and knowledge of advances in rendering. The ability to find matches between a problem presented by production and a solution provided by the rendering community is an important skill for any graphics programmer. Of course, this is never the end of the story, and this talk will cover not only the process of finding matches but the ongoing struggles in the relationship between problem and solution, as we take research into production and into the final product.
Bio: Stephen McAuley is a 3D Technical Lead at Ubisoft Montreal on the Far Cry brand, where he has spearheaded the vision for the graphics engine. He started in video games in 2006 at Bizarre Creations, shipping games such as Blur and Blood Stone. Moving to Ubisoft in 2011, he started working on Far Cry 3 and has focused on pioneering physically based lighting and shading, a more data-driven rendering architecture and overall improvements in visual quality. He is also passionate about sharing his knowledge with the industry as a whole, running internal training and conferences, speaking at SIGGRAPH and GDC, and organising the Physically Based Shading course at SIGGRAPH on six occasions. Previously, he was a graphics programmer at Bizarre Creations, shipping games such as Blur and Blood Stone.
Title: Machine Learning for Motion Synthesis and Character Control in Games
Abstract: Producing animated characters for video games in an actual production environment is subject to a large number of requirements and demands. Trying to find a solution that doesn’t suffer from the ever-growing complexity of animation graphs while meeting production constraints is a tremendously difficult proposition. We have seen a large number of exciting new research from the machine learning community over the last couple of years that tries to address this problem. In this talk we will take an in-depth look at some of this research and consider the feasibility in the context of an actual game production. We will then talk about Motion Matching – an exciting new technique that lies at the heart of Unity’s solution to the problem. We will cover the nuts and bolts of Motion Matching as well as the cutting edge research that revolves around this technique. We will also talk about the problems and challenges that we faced while turning this approach from prototype into an actual product.
Bio: Michael Buttner is a Principal Research Engineer working for Unity Labs on realistic motion synthesis and machine learning. Before joining Unity he spent more than 30 years in the game development industry. He is interested in Machine Learning, responsive character control and realistic motion synthesis. He spends most of his time trying to come up with new ways to animate a character so that it moves realistically and is fun to control with buttons and thumbsticks.