faculty research

New research lets artists create more realistic and controllable CGI

A new theory based on the physics of cloud formation and neutron scattering could help animators create more lifelike movies, according to a Dartmouth-led study. Software developed using the technique focuses on how light interacts with microscopic particles to develop computer-generated images.

The work was conduced by Dartmouth's Visual Computing Laboratory in collaboration with researchers from Pixar, Disney Research, ETH Zurich and Cornell University. A research paper detailing the advancement was just published in the journal Transactions on Graphics and will be presented at SIGGRAPH Asia by Dartmouth CS PhD student Benedikt Bitterli tomorrow, December 6 in Tokyo, Japan.

Watch the quick "fast forward" video below that summarizes the technique:

Prof. Campbell Wins The ACM Sensys 2018 Test-of-Time Award

Andrew Campbell and his PhD students received the prestigious ACM SenSys 2018 Test-of-Time Award (10 year award) for their paper: “Sensing meets mobile social networks: the design, implementation and evaluation of the cenceme application”.

In 2008, when the App Store first opened Professor Campbell and his team released the CenceMe app, which implemented a machine learning algorithm directly on the iPhone for the first time to automatically detected the user’s behavior (e.g., sitting, walking, running, socializing). The app pushed this user context to Facebook and for the first time human behavior passively inferred from sensors embedded in smartphones was visible to friends in real-time.

The award citation states: “At the dawn of the smartphone era, this paper had the foresight to realize that smartphones are human companions and their sensors, collectively, can be used to derive novel social behavior insights. It also pioneered applying machine learning across local devices and servers”.

Today, activity recognition is integrated into the operating system of every Android and iPhone.

Eye-Tracking Glasses Giving New Vision for Augmented Reality

High power consumption and cost have kept eye trackers out of current augmented reality systems. By using near-infrared lights and photodiodes DartNets Lab has created an energy-efficient, wearable system that tracks rapid eye movements and allows hands-free input of system commands.

The glasses, which can also help monitor human health, was introduced at MobiCom 2018 taking place from October 29-November 2 in New Delhi, India.

Graduate Students Create Computer-Chip Security Fix

Dartmouth computer science graduate students are applying their research techniques to fundamental security flaws recently found in nearly every computer chip manufactured in the last 20 years—flaws that they say could prove catastrophic if exploited by malicious hackers.

The researchers are coming to grips with a design flaw that ultimately falls into the province of the chip manufacturers—such industry giants as Intel and AMD. Until new designs are implemented, an interim solution devised at Dartmouth can fill the breach.

The research team includes two PhD students, Prashant Anantharaman and Ira Ray Jenkins, and Rebecca Shapiro, Guarini ’18, who received her PhD this past spring. Professor of Computer Science Sean Smith and Research Associate Professor Sergey Bratus advised the team.

Read the whole article over at Dartmouth News.

The Danger of Predictive Algorithms in Criminal Justice

Predictive algorithms may help us shop, discover new music or literature, but do they belong in the courthouse? Dartmouth professor Hany Farid reverse engineers the inherent dangers and potential biases of recommendations engines built to mete out justice in today's criminal justice system.

Check out the TEDx video on Youtube:

 

Disney Movie Magic Leads to Dartmouth Digital Research

Dartmouth News is running a profile of CS Assistant Professor Wojciech Jarosz.

From the story:

Wojciech Jarosz is fascinated by the behavior of light and the interplay with its environment, an interest that led to his involvement in the movies TangledFrozen, and Big Hero 6 during the six years he spent with Disney Research Zürich before joining the faculty at Dartmouth.

“I want to understand why things look the way they do, how we can simulate their interaction with light, and how we can reproduce that appearance,” says Jarosz.

This quest has taken him to a domain where technology and art complement each other. “I try to figure out how light bounces around in physical scenes and try to write efficient algorithms that will simulate those actions and create images,” he says.

New Technique Shedding Light on Body Language

A joint research team from the University of Cambridge and Dartmouth College has developed a system for using infrared light tags to monitor face-to-face interactions. The technique could lead to a more precise understanding of how individuals interact in social settings and can increase the effectiveness of communications coaching.

The system, named Protractor by the Cambridge-Dartmouth team, uses invisible light to record how people employ body language by measuring body angles and distances between individuals.

Prior studies have revealed that body language can influence many aspects of everyday life including job interviews, doctor-patient conversations and team projects. Each setting includes a specific set of interaction details such as eye contact and hand gestures for which an accurate monitoring of distance and relative orientation is crucial.

Body language is already commonly studied through video sessions, audio recordings and paper questionnaires. Compared to the new, light-based system, these approaches can require invasive cameras, necessitate complex infrastructure support, and impose high burdens on users.

Exploring Applications of Technology in Health and Wellness

Dartmouth News is running an article about George Boateng ’16, Thayer ’17, and how he is using his CS and engineering degrees to make a difference in education and health in the developing world.

From the article:

George Boateng ’16, Thayer ’17, arrived at Dartmouth in 2012 with an agenda. He had come 5,000 miles, seeking ways to make a difference in education and health in the developing world—in his native Ghana, in particular.

At Dartmouth, he gained hands-on experience in computer science and engineering in a place where his work had the potential to produce real-world applications. Boateng proceeded to blaze a trail marked by accolades for his research and recognition for his humanitarian accomplishments. Most recently, he won Dartmouth’s Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award for Emerging Leadershipfor his work as co-founder and president of the nonprofit Nsesa Foundation.

Can Algorithms Accurately Predict Crime?

Julia Dressel ’17 and Professor Hany Farid caution that the computer algorithms may be no more accurate at predicting recidivism than people with no criminal justice experience. “What we’ve shown should give the courts some pause,” Farid tells The Atlantic.

See the Science Advances article and The Atlantic article for more.

Prof. Hany Farid honored as a 2018 Fellow of the IEEE

Hany Farid has just been elected an IEEE Fellow “for seminal contributions to the field of photo-forensics and its application to fighting the exploitation of children around the globe.”

Hany is being recognized for his research in image analysis and digital forensics, a field he pioneered at Dartmouth. Among many other things, Hany has developed mathematical and computational techniques to determine whether images, videos, or audio recordings have been altered. A noteworthy application was Hany's forensic analysis that demonstrated the authenticity of a controversial photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald holding the alleged assassination rifle. Hany also helped develop a system to find and remove online images pertaining to child exploitation, and is developing a system to scrub the internet of extremist-related content.

“Hany’s research is both technically groundbreaking and incredibly impactful,” says Interim Provost David Kotz ’86, the Champion International Professor in the Department of Computer Science. “Congratulations to him. This is a great honor.”

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