Academic Information
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My collegiate career began in 1987 when I entered West Virginia Institute of Technology. Upon completion of my BS in Computer Science in 1992, I entered Wake Forest University. I received a Masters degree in Computer Science in 1994. I wrote my thesis on "Three Dimensional Polygon-Mesh Morphology" under the guidance of my advisor Stan Thomas. The abstract is online and the thesis is available on request.

I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Computer Science Department at the University of Utah. My research has been conducted within both the Geometric Design and Computation research group and the Virtual Prototyping research project under the direction of my advisor Elaine Cohen and committee members Rich Riesenfeld and John Hollerbach.

My current research is in virtual prototyping of mechanical assemblies. Visualizing CAD models with graphical renderings can only aid a designer so much. What the designer often needs is the ability to actually "touch" the parts and manipulate the assemblies. The goal of this research is to make this possible without actually milling the parts and building a real assembly.

For my thesis, I am working on direct tracking methods and distributed structures for dealing with sculptured models and assemblies. Most systems deal with an intermediate representation to models to help facilitate a faster force update. My research will allow direct haptic rendering of sculptured models. Also, these models can be dynamic and part of assemblies. Our haptic environment is distributed across processors and machines so there are several synchronicity issues to be solved as well.

My scholastic vita and resume are also online.


o Haptic Rendering
o NURBS Evaluation Techniques
o Virtual Environments
o Design
o User Interfaces
o Distributed Systems
o Mechanical Assemblies


o Optimized Refinement
o Local Closest Point Approximations
o Direct Tracking of Trimmed NURBS Surfaces
o Dynamic Surfaces Within a Distributed Environment


o Hollerbach, J. M., Cohen, E., Thompson, W. B., Freier, R., Johnson, D. E., and Thompson II, T. V., "Virtual prototyping for human-centric design," in 2000 NSF Design and Manufacturing Research Conference, (Vancouver), January 2000.
o Thompson II, T.V., and Cohen, E., "Direct Haptic Rendering of Complex Trimmed NURBS Models," Proc. 8th Annual Symp. on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems, (Nashville, TN), ASME, November 14-16, 1999.
o Johnson, D.E., Thompson II, T.V., Kaplan, M., Nelson, D., and Cohen, E., "Painting Textures with a Haptic Interface," in Proc. Virtual Reality '99, (Houston, TX), pp. 282-285, IEEE, March 13-17, 1999.
o Thompson II, T.V., Johnson, D.E., and Cohen, E., "Direct Haptic Rendering Of Sculptured Models," in Proc. Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics, (Providence, RI), pp. 167-176, ACM, April, 1997.
[Postscript] [PDF]
o Hollerbach, J.M., Cohen, E., Thompson, W.B., Freier, R., Johnson, D., Nahvi, A., Nelson, D., Thompson II, T.V., and Jacobsen, S.C., "Haptic Interfacing For Virtual Prototyping Of Mechanical CAD Designs," ASME Design for Manufacturing Symposium, (Sacramento, CA), Sept. 14-17, 1997.
o Thompson II, T.V., Nelson, D.D., Cohen, E., and Hollerbach, J.M., "Manueverable Models Within A Haptic Virtual Environment," in Proc. 6th Annual Symp. on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems, (Dallas, TX), pp. 37-44, ASME, Nov. 15-21, 1997.

Discarded Thesis Ideas

o Bringing the world to a greater understanding, or at least swerving everyone to MY point of view.
o Proving to the world that I can always win so I don't need to learn to be a good loser.
o Origins of the Universe and how that relates to Television viewing habits of South American families.
o The beginning of time and why if it had happened ten minutes later I would always be on time.
o Polygonially speaking, a square is just a circle having a bad hair day.
o If it's not Scottish it's CRAP - and why my mom hates the Partridge Family.
o The Beatles, The Turtles, The Monkeys, and what ever happened to the lesser known food chain bands.
o Damnit, I like running in the rain through the forest with my clothes on backwards, leave me alone - and how this relates to the common cold.
o Why movies based on real life are only fictional representations of movies based on stories told by people that work at 7-eleven selling Slurpies to people who play fictional characters in reality based mini-series played as long movies of the week on struggling networks, sometimes.
o Four out of Five Dentists recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum, and why I have chosen the fifth Dentist.
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Last update: January 8, 2000