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March 1995


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Wesley Alan Wright <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 30 Mar 1995 15:06:51 -0500
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          (A primer on virtual worlds in computer graphics)

                       Monday, April 3rd, 1995
                   1:10 -- 2:00 pm in 304 Lafayette

                          F. Kenton Musgrave
      Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
                   The George Washington University


The coming virtual reality will require virtual worlds, settings in
which to play out dramas to unfold there.  Current virtual
environments are cartoonish and unrealistic.  What will be required to
create virtual worlds worth inhabiting?  What are the salient visual
features of the natural world, which are as yet missing in our
synthetic computer graphics?  We will explore these issues, and get a
glimpse of some virtual worlds to come.  The emphasis in these scenes
is on realism, detail, and visual beauty.  The engineering challenges
in implementing these worlds in real time will be illuminated, as we
take a guided journey through virtual places-to-be.

Ken Musgrave is a computer graphics researcher and computer artist of
world renown.  His fractal images have led Benoit Mandelbrot to credit
him as ``the first true fractal-based artist.''  Since receiving his
PhD in Computer Science at Yale in 1993 he has been creating, from
first mathematical principles, an entire planet that is well-defined
everywhere and at all scales and has visual compelexity comparable to
Earth's.  His research involves mapping fractal geometry and
scientific models of nature into image synthesis algorithms, which in
turn create visual models of various natural phenomena.  These models
are then used to produce visual art through a novel creative process.