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Almost every influential person in the modern computer-graphics community either passed through the University of Utah or came into contact with it in some way. |
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Robert Rivlin The Algorithmic Image: Graphic Visions of the Computer Age |
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In 1979, Richard Reisenfeld and Elaine Cohen, while on sabbatical in Norway, developed the Oslo Algorithms along with Tom Lyche. This family of algorithms made many computations with NURBS (generalized B-splines) practical for the first time, unleashing the power of NURBS for design and computation.
The founders of the GDC group were both mathematicians and software engineers. Riesenfeld and Cohen, along with Russ Fish, wrote a proposal to the NSF in late 1979 for seed money to demonstrate Oslo-algorithm based geometric and shaded rendering computations. In the summer of 1980, the Alpha_1 software project got underway, with Riesenfeld and Cohen as faculty, Fish as research staff, and grad students Beth Cobb, Spencer Thomas, and Brian Barsky. The software architecture emphasized object-oriented generic method dispatching from the start and was implemented in C and Unix, somewhat radical decisions at that early time.
In the 1980s the group developed methods for the representation and display of solid models using NURBS as a boundary representation; boolean operations on NURBS solid models; automated manufacture of computer models; and more intuitive shape design techniques. In addition, the group added to the mathematical underpinnings of modeling with work on approximation, degree raising, and rendering techniques.
In the 1990s the group
became part of the Science and
Technology Center for Computer Graphics and Visualization. The Center has
worked on core problems in computer graphics and has more recently tackled
issues for telecollaboration and telepresence. Our group's research has ranged from
tackling problems in designing large-scale models to interface issues in
modeling using such devices as a SARCOS force-feedback arm. We are actively
continuing research into the mathematics of surfaces, modeling, human-computer
interfaces, and design.