Colloquium Archive


Tom Duff , Pixar, Emeryville


Computer graphics methods have conquered water (Finding Nemo), fur (the Blockbuster hamster and rabbit commercials), hair (Stuart Little), and other challenges that nature provides. But how do you do realistic fog, which, unlike other challenging objects, has no surface and interpenetrates all other objects in a scene? We'll introduce the problem and its solution, concentrating on ideas from compositing algebra.

Solving The Knight's Tour With A Genetic Algorithm

Vahl Scott Gordon, California State University, Sacramento


In this follow-on to last year's presentation, a genetic algorithm is used to to solve the 8x8 knight's tour problem, and its performance is compared against standard depth-first search with backtracking. Depth-first search finds more solutions undercertain conditions, but the genetic algorithm finds solutions more consistently for arbitrary initial conditions.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (User Interface Design)

Matt Dewar, Manager Litecraft Group, Alcatel, Petaluma


One thing all software in use today has in common they all have some sort of userinterface. The user interface is a crucial part of the software package. A product with a good user interface can be more successful than one with a poor user interface even though the latter may be more robust. Today where time-to-market grows shorter and shorter, it is important the user interface be right the first time as we all know there is no second chance to make a first impression. We will discuss: user requirements, usability, color/layout, portability and the semantics therein. Examples will also be shown (some of which you may have already had the pleasure or the pain of using).

Problems With Health Care Technology

Michael Skolnik, EDS, Petaluma


Can health care ever become truly automated to support quality and flawless healthcare delivery? Health care has remained at least ten to fifteen years behind othervertical markets in implementing technology solutions to their major clinical and management issues. Why has this been the case? Why do 60% of technology projectsfail in healthcare? How can technology become a catalyst leading to a new and better health care system? Is the embedded bureaucracy going to change its operating protocol to allow technology to work its miracles in the health industry? These and other issues regarding technology and the delivery of health care in the US will bediscussed.

The Hard Challenge Of Making Easy Software

Michael Slater, Adobe, Santa Rosa


Creating an application to enable ordinary consumers to enjoy digital photographyturns out to be quite a challenging problem. The solution Adobe has developed, Photoshop Album, required some new paradigms and a lot of difficult design choices. The development process and experience with users provides a variety of lessons about the challenges of designing easy-to-use software and the hidden complexities that make what seem like simple problems sometimes very hard to solve simply.