December 7, 2006
The confluence of virtual reality and artificial life, an emerging discipline that spans the computational and biological sciences, has yielded synthetic worlds inhabited by realistic, artificial flora and fauna.
Artificial animals are complex synthetic organisms that possess functional biomechanical bodies, perceptual sensors, and brains with locomotion, perception, behavior, learning, and cognition centers. Artificial humans and lower animals are of interest in computer graphics because they are self-animating graphical characters that will dramatically advance the state of the art of production animation and interactive game technologies. More broadly, these biomimetic autonomous agents in realistic virtual worlds also foster deeper computationally oriented insights into natural living systems. In addition, they engender interesting applications in computer vision, sensor networks, and other domains.
Demetri Terzopoulos is the Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science at UCLA. He graduated from McGill University and was awarded the PhD degree by MIT in 1984. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a member of the European Academy of Sciences. His many awards include an Academy Award for Technical Achievement (a Technical Oscar) from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his pioneering work on physics-based computer animation. He is one of the most highly-cited computer scientists and engineers in the world, with approximately 300 published research papers and several volumes, primarily in computer graphics, computer vision, medical imaging, computer-aided design, and artificial intelligence/life.