Carnegie Mellon University

From September 1995 to December 1997, I was a PhD student in computer science at
Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, PA. My advisors were Andy Witkin and David Baraff, and my research area was graphics and user interfaces. I decided to leave in December 1997 after completing my M.S. Turns out that that's just as well; Andy and David have jumped ship too. They now work at Pixar.

Research project

"Nothin' But Net": a physically-realistic animation system which lets the user specify certain aspects of an object's path (e.g. it bounces off another object at a certain time and position), and produces a path which meets those constraints yet is as close to physical realism as possible.

The system's name refers to the McDonald's commercials of a few years ago, in which two basketball players described and then made outrageous shots -- e.g. out the gym window, bounce off the billboard, across the freeway, bounce off the moving truck, off the flagpole, into the gym through another window, and through the hoop. The descriptions of the shots always ended with the phrase "Nothin' but net", meaning that the ball didn't touch the basket's hoop or backboard. Achieving this requires precise control of the ball's position and velocity as it approaches the basket. McDonald's of course had the luxury of being able to stop the camera and film these wild sequences in discontinuous segments. To produce equivalent animations as single non-stop sequences without sacrificing physical reality (or at least the appearance of it) requires a system such as the one I was developing.

Cheating Impulses: Scripting Control Plus Physical Realism for Animation -- Abstract of my presentation at the ACM student research poster contest, San Jose, February 27-28 1997.

Earlier projects at CMU

SimDesign a GUI for a physical simulation system, which was used by an undergraduate class this spring to design exhibits for the Carnegie Science Center

AutoMosaican automated system for aligning two images and combining them into an image mosaic.

University of Virginia

In May 1995 I earned my first master's degree in the
Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia. I worked with Dr. Tom Olson and the Computer Vision research group. My research project consisted of a multi-camera optical tracking system. The tracker reported physical objects' 3D positions, which I used to control the locations of simulated objects in a virtual environment.

The Johns Hopkins University

My bachelor's degree (1992) is in math, with a concentration in physics. I graduated from
The Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore. While at JHU I spent a lot of time working with the Barnstormers, the student theater group.
Last modified: Thu Jan 7 19:30:52 PST 1999