Research in the DGP Lab is highly interdisciplinary. Most often, our work is found at conferences in computer graphics, computer vision, and human-computer interaction.
Computer graphics is the computational science of visual depiction.
As humans are much better equipped to see and understand images than to generate them, computer graphics plays a large and wide role in facilitating many different forms of visual communication. The need to expand and enhance visual communication is constantly growing. Our expectations, however, may not easily reduce to numerical error measures and may not proceed predictably. As with any communication, the receiver of a message participates in making sense of a sender’s message. Thus a caricature of a face may well seem more realistic to us than a beautifully rendered, painstakingly detailed three-dimensional model, and a few moving dots on a screen may convey more expressive intent than a fully realized animation.
If something has an appealing visual manifestation, it is likely to be of interest to computer graphics. Some specific scientific threads include the use of machine learning in computer graphics, physically-based methods for simulation, rendering and animation, acquiring salient parameters from the capture of real-life phenomena such as lighting, motion capture and natural phenomena, signal processing and control theory for rendering and animation, interactive modelling of natural phenomena such as turbulent smoke and fire, expressive and facial animation, and hardware-accelerated computer graphics.
Our researchers in computer graphics are internationally-recognized, regularly presenting their work at the top forums in the field, working with other top international scholars, sitting on and chairing numerous programme committees, running conferences and awards committees, and garnering various awards (including Academy Awards and Sloan Fellowships). Our graduates have gone on to excellent universities (e.g., Universities of British Columbia, Waterloo, California-Davis, Toronto, York, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Montreal) as well as start-ups and larger companies (e.g., Adobe, Alias/Autodesk, ATI, Pixar, Nokia, ILM, Honda, Google, Okino, Core).
Our graphics lab is run collectively with researchers in human-computer interaction, which permits many synergistic relationships among graphics and HCI people to emerge. Our lab, the Dynamic Graphics Project (dgp), has a long history of such very productive interactions.
The long-term goal of research in computational vision is to understand the visual information that is represented in images and image sequences. By understanding, we mean that a computer system viewing an image could report on the contents of an image in a useful manner, where utility may be measured by specific tasks or by the standards of human perception. Research in the field ranges from practical industrial vision applications to the design and construction of robotic vision sensors (such as stereo heads) to attempts to understand how the human brain processes and uses visual information. As a result, there are many sub-areas of research within computational vision, including edge detection, segmentation, texture analysis, colour perception, stereo tracking, perceptual organization, object recognition, active and attentive vision, sensor design, motion analysis, event perception, learning and so on. Impressive successes have been seen, but the research area contains a large number of open problems, making this an intriguing and challenging topic for many years to come.
The Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) faculty in Toronto work in several major sub-areas of the field, including ubiquitous and pervasive computing, development models for interactive systems, knowledge media design, novel interaction techniques, high-performance input sensing and architectures, computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), computer-supported cooperative learning (CSCL), information visualization, and empirical evaluation of user interfaces including associated metrics and predictive models of human performance. Our researchers also apply HCI research to real-world opportunities such as the design of multimedia eLearning environments and electronic cognitive prostheses.
We currently have seven faculty members and over twenty graduate students and postdoctoral fellows whose research spans these areas and offers over half a dozen graduate courses to help students develop and expand their knowledge of HCI. The group’s research is primarily conducted within the Dynamic Graphics Project (DGP) laboratory, which houses both the HCI and Computer Graphics groups, and is superbly equipped with state-of-the-art technology including large scale high-resolution displays, sophisticated optical motion-tracking hardware, 3D volumetric displays, and numerous other imaging and sensing equipment. Several full-time staff members provide technical and administrative support to the group.
Reflecting on the inherently interdisciplinary nature of the field, the group collaborates widely with colleagues in several disciplines including Psychology, Sociology, Information Studies, Architecture, and Mechanical/Industrial Engineering within the university and at leading academic institutions and industrial laboratories worldwide. These faculty significantly complement and expand the expertise of our core HCI faculty, and often (co)supervise graduate students within our department.