During the course of studying at the University of Toronto, I
conducted research in the area of computer animation and artificial life.
My research is mainly concerned with physics-based modelling,
modelling and control of reactive behaviour and behavioural
animation. (For more information about behavioural animation,
see the home page of Craig Reynolds
. Craig pioneered this field of research and I was fortunate to have
the chance to work with him at SGI for a year).
Through exploring the interplay of locomotion, perception, and behaviour
in animals, I developed an animation framework that can achieve the
intricacy of motion evident in certain natural ecosystems with minimal input
from the animator. The realistic appearance, movement, and behaviour of
individual animals, as well as the patterns of behaviour evident in groups
of animals fall within the scope of this framework.
The framework is validated by a virtual marine world
inhabited by a variety of
artificial fishes with a repertoire of realistic behaviour. These
artificial fishes are autonomous agents with deformable bodies actuated
by internal muscles, with eyes, and with minds including perception, motor
control and intention/behaviour centres. They explore their habitat in search
of food, navigate around obstacles, contend with predators, and indulge
in courtship rituals to secure mates. Their behavioral repertoires rely
on simulated visual perception in a highly unpredictable and sometimes hostile
Click for full size image
This artificial fish system has been further expanded by incorporating active vision and locomotion learning abilities to the fish.
The fishes have earned some fame and were reported in several
newspaper and magazine articles, and books. To name a few:
"Fishes of the Silicon Sea" , an articleby Gene Levinson, was published in the June 1995 issue of The World and I .
"These fish swim, feed, flee danger and indulge in courtship; yet they exist only in a computer", was in
The Daily Telegraph ,
England, August, 22ed, 1994.
"Artificial Fish: Virtual fish
are the catch of the day" was in
The Globe and Mail ,
Canada, Sept., 10th, 1994.
"Fishes and silicon chips",
description and color plates of our work in
Frontiers of Complexity: The Search for Order in a Chaotic World "
, by P. Coveney and R. Highfield, Ballantine Books, New York, 1995.
Description and images in
Climbing Mount Improbable , by R. Dawkins, Viking, 1996.