Character Animation: From Virtual Environments to the Real World

Computer graphics techniques enable the creation of immersive virtual worlds that capture our imagination. To a large extent, the appeal of these worlds is that they place no limits on the types of objects, characters and environments that can be conceived and brought to life. Rapid manufacturing devices hold the promise of bringing this freedom to the real world, by allowing anyone to create physical prototypes of digital assets. To unleash the full potential of this technology, however, there is a need for computational design tools that process digital content into forms suitable for fabrication. A particularly interesting and challenging aspect of this problem—one that bridges the fields of computer animation, robotics, and biomechanics—is that of creating physical representations of animated virtual characters. In this talk, I will detail the steps I have taken towards addressing this challenge. In particular, I will present a locomotion control framework applicable to both physically-simulated characters and legged robots, I will describe a computational design system that allows animated mechanical characters to be easily created, and I will summarize a method for controlling the deformation behavior of real-world objects.

A new class of bugs: How compiler optimizations harm our systems through undefined behavior

Software bugs introduce security vulnerabilities into our computer systems.  To understand and mitigate an increasing number of bugs, practitioners categorize them into classes, such as buffer overflow or SQL injection, and handle each class separately. This talk introduces a new class of bugs called unstable code: code that is unexpectedly discarded by compiler optimizations due to undefined behavior in the program.

Interplay between user-centered design and data mining for educational technologies

Educational technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent in a variety of settings. Designing educational technologies is a challenging interdisciplinary process because they need to function in real educational settings in which a number of instructional goals interact. In this talk, I will present a principle-based methodology to ground the design of educational technologies in the instructional requirements of the specific educational setting.

Bay Area Alumni Reception

Bay Area alumni of the UW-Madison Dept. of Computer Sciences have been invited to a special reception at Microsoft.  There will be camaraderie, networking and talks by emeritus professor Charles Fischer and alumnus Abhinav Gupta of Rocket Fuel.  Refreshments will be served.  Co-hosted by the CS department, its Board of Visitors and the UW Foundation.  Parking is available around the building at Microsoft.


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