I am interested in vision—the various ways that humans, animals, and computers
use light to see. I believe that vision involves constraints that
apply to any system, and that the most successful visual systems
are based on very general information-processing strategies. As such,
my approach is to examine biological systems (including humans) to see
how they operate, and then to look at these mechanisms from a computational
point of view to see if they embody more general principles. Among
other things, these more general principles can provide a scientific basis
for the design of visual interfaces that can interact with human visual
systems in an optimal way.
My particular interests include:
1. Information visualization
what is the basis of effective design in visual displays?
how can visual interfaces be designed so as to be "transparent" to the user?
how can data be represented so that our visual intelligence can pick out interesting patterns?
how can visual analytics systems be designed to allow the user to easily analyze immense amounts of data?
2. Computational vision
how do "quick and dirty" processes reduce time requirements?
what are the trade-offs for various kinds of representations?
what are the physical limits of visual perception?
are there universal principles for all vision systems?
3. Human vision
what is attention, and how does it operate?
what is space, and how do we represent it?
what are objects, and how do we represent them?
how are scenes represented?
History and philosophy of science
Hiking, camping, skiing, and scuba diving
How I Got Here
I grew up in Whitby ON, a small town right next to one of the biggest industrial
areas of Canada. There's only so much of that life that anyone can take,
and so I eventually got out to Vancouver BC, where I spent most of my adult
life. This included getting all kinds of degrees in Physics and Computer
Science at the University of British Columbia
Unbeknownst to me when I began my studies at UBC was the fact that it
had not one, but two really terrific vision labs. My "home" lab
was the Laboratory for Computational
Intelligence, in the Computer Science department. My supervisor there
one of the best computer vision people around. He encouraged me to also
get to know the folks in the other lab, over in Psychology. That group
was headed by Anne
Treisman (also no slouch), from whom I learned a great deal about experimental
psychology. After Anne left for Berkeley, the department got Jim
Enns to replace her, and I ended up working with Jim and the people
in his lab as well.
After getting my PhD in Computer Science in 1992, I did a postdoc with
Cavanagh at the Vision Sciences
Laboratory in the Psychology department of
University. There, I worked on the problem of how shadows can get interpreted
rapidly and in parallel at early levels of vision. A few years later, I
joined Cambridge Basic Research (CBR),
a laboratory devoted to understanding the perceptual and cognitive systems
involved in driving. CBR was a joint effort of Nissan, Harvard, and
MIT, and was a great example of how universities and industry could work
together to support multidisciplinary research into advanced interface
design. After having spent several very enjoyable years at CBR, I
returned to UBC as an assistant professor in the fall of 2000. And
the rest is history...
Related Web Sites
UBC Cognitive Systems | Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics (VIVA)
UBC Computer Science | Imager
Computer Graphics Laboratory | Laboratory
for Computational Intelligence
UBC Psychology | Visual Cognition Laboratory
Sister site in Psychology
Last updated 20 Nov 2011.