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Robotics Institute Seminar, February 27, 1998
Robotics Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 15213-3891
412/268-8525 . 412/268-5576 (fax)

This page is provided for historical and archival purposes only. While the seminar dates are correct, we offer no guarantee of informational accuracy or link validity. Contact information for the speakers, hosts and seminar committee are certainly out of date.

Interactive Entertainment & Robotics: Shall We Play A Game?

Ian Davis

Place and Time
Adamson Wing, Baker Hall
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm

Computer game development is no longer an exercise for hackers in their garages. Last year, in fact, gross revenues from computer game sales in the U.S. last year exceeded Hollywood box office intake. Modern computer games are far more complicated than Space Invaders or PacMan. Most have fancy 3D graphics, multi-player network capabilities, and massive budgets. However, as it becomes easier and easier to create an artistically immersive virtual world, it becomes harder and harder to fill it with interesting things to do and interactions with convincing virtual characters.

Robotics techniques have never been more useful than in filling the 3D universes of computer games with dynamic and intelligent characters and objects. From Path Planning to Kinematics, from Expert Systems to Fuzzy Logic, from Control Algorithms to Computer Vision Algorithms, the foundations of robotics are also the foundations of the next generation of computer games.

Computer game design affords roboticists an opportunity to experiment with new techniques without expensive and difficult-to-maintain robots, with as little noise as they want, and with exposure to hundreds of thousands of eager testers. Indeed, many of the higher level algorithms that the robotics community studies are more applicable to computer games than to real robotics, and will be until we can consistently create multiple physically robust robots with nearly perfect low level perception cheaply.

In this talk, I will discuss how working on cutting edge computer games can be one of the most fulfilling ways to push the envelope of robotics research. Computer game design can be intellectually challenging, fun, and quite profitable.

Speaker Biography
Ian Davis obtained his Bachelors Degrees in Math, Computer Science and English at Dartmouth College in 1991. He obtained his Ph.D in robotics at Carnegie Mellon, working under Mel Siegel and Tony Stentz in 1996. His thesis work developed neural networks for inspection of aging aircraft and a guidance system for an autonomous HMMWV. Since graduation, Ian has been at Activision, a company that develops computer games. He has recently been the Lead Programmer on "Dark Reign: The Future of War" which has sold over 400,000 units worldwide. Now he divides his time between working on new computer games and trying to start a band in LA.

Speaker Appointments
For appointments, please contact the host, Sanjiv Singh, at sanjiv@cs.cmu.edu.

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