Academy of Science and Arts
INTERNEXT GRAPHICS INSTITUTE
Launching in December 2012
Alyn Rockwood to Lead Graphics Experts in Pioneering
21st Century Human-Computer Interface and AI Technologies
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOENIX, ARIZONA and SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, AUGUST 27: Renowned computer graphics scientist Dr. Alyn Rockwood today announced he will be joining forces as Director of the Internext Graphics Institute with other leaders, including Academy founder Joe Firmage, its Science Modeling Institute Founder Dr. David Hestenes, its Internext Studios and Academy Award winning Director Kieth Merrill, and other key co-founders, spanning science, technology, media, and education. The Internext Graphics Institute will be a primary department of the Academy of Science and Arts, supporting many of the other internal and external partners in the Academy’s emerging network across the U.S. and soon in Europe.
The Purpose of the Internext Graphics Institute
As technologies have emerged and prices have fallen so rapidly in the past decade, it has become possible to realize technologies once held in the realm of science fiction. The sum total of recorded human knowledge is rapidly falling into every 8-year-old’s hand, through devices that can speak and understand spoken words. The visualizations from cinema and television continue to astound in ways scarcely imagined possible only ten years ago. The new Institute will commence development in September 2012, and will formally commence operations in December 2012.
“Internext Graphics is going to combine the finest talent in 3D and motion graphics theorists and hardware, firmware, and software experts in the world, to teach and to invent,” said Dr. Alyn Rockwood, Associate Director of the Geometric Modeling and Scientific Visualization Research Center, and Professor of Applied Mathematics at KAUST.
Alyn is one of the leading research scientists worldwide and is primarily known for his innovative research in computer graphics and geometric modeling. He received a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University in Cambridge, England. While a research scientist at Cambridge University in the 1980’s, he invented a new area of mathematics involving the definition and blending of surfaces. His entire professional life has been involved in studying the mathematics of the representation of objects.
Alyn recently fulfilled his term as Vice President of ACMSIGGRAPH, the most prestigious worldwide organization in computer graphics and interactive techniques. He served as the SIGGRAPH conference chair in 2003 and as the SIGGRAPH Research Papers Chair in 1999. One of his activities as Vice President was to lead a team to establish the SIGGRAPH Asia Conference, now a top tier conference in computer graphics, and which attracted over 7000 attendees last year in Hong Kong.
Alyn has an illustrious career that spans both industry and academics. At the pioneering computer graphics company, Evans & Sutherland, he led the software team that developed the first FAA “Phase III” flight simulator, enabling pilots to be ‘upgrade-trained’ entirely on a simulator. At Silicon Graphics (SGI), he was a part of the group that developed GL, and subsequently, OpenGL. His seminal work on surface rendering is still the basis for display of surfaces in OpenGL today. He was a visiting scientist at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs. He was formerly an associate professor at Arizona State University and professor, Assistant Dept. Head, and Director of Graduate Studies at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.
Alyn conceptualized and developed the FreeDesign Ltd geometry system, and helped co-found this startup company as its CTO. This groundbreaking technology was awarded the Innovation Award for Best New Technology 2007 by CADwire magazine at the elite COFES conference. The next year he was honored with the CAD Society’s “Heroes of Engineering” Award. He was also a founder of Geomerics Ltd., Cambridge, U.K., a successful startup company producing the highest quality, photo realistic rendering and display technology for computer games.
In 2009, Alyn returned to academics as a founding faculty member and Associate Director of the Geometric Modeling and Scientific Visualization Center at KAUST (King Abdullah, University of Science and Technology), the newly formed, graduate research university in Saudi Arabia. He is a dedicated teacher and mentor, having produced dozens of graduate students, and winning a number of teaching awards. He has authored 100+ technical articles with a dozen patents issued or pending. He has co-authored two technical textbooks and one science fiction novel.
Alyn’s current research centers on technology for representing 3D objects in a flexible, easy-to-design model, which is highly compressible. Compression of models is a key to Internet graphics, much as JPEG compression is for images. Hence his current work is closely aligned with that of the Internext Institute. Moreover, applications have been exploited for animation, CAD, geo-science, and immersive interaction.
“Alyn has been quite legitimately declared a hero in the advancement of the computer human interface and in the intelligence that is emerging behind our screens,” said Mr. Joe Firmage, Founder of the Academy of Science and Arts, its parent institution. “His vision, however, is matched by his ethos in envisioning a world of proper and careful use of such potent technologies as AI. I am proud to be able to join forces with Alyn and the team he brings together to help pioneer 21st century interactive technologies.”
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