Jim Little

Professor & Associate Head of Faculty Affairs
Email: little [at] cs [dot] ubc [dot] ca
Office: ICCS 117
Phone: 604-822-4830

Computational vision and robotics

Curriculum Vitae

A.B., Harvard (1972); M.Sc., University of British Columbia (1980); Ph.D., University of British Columbia (1985); Research Analyst, Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis, Harvard, 1972-1975; Research Associate, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, 1975-1978; Research Scientist, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, M.I.T., 1985-1988; Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia, (1988); Associate Professor, University of British Columbia (1993); Associate Director, CICSR (1998-1999), Professor, University of British Columbia(2001).


artificial intelligence
computational vision
geographic information systems


I am interested in building working vision systems, both in robots and for using visual information for science, medicine, and other applications. I am especially interested in early vision, especially computation of scene structure through stereo and motion, and the integration of vision modules to produce robust systems.

I am studying sensing and action for robots in dynamic environments, under a variety of operating constraints. The problems to be solved are not just system configuration; there are many open issues in determining the proper interactions between the vision component of a robot and the reasoning and action components. This requires investigating how world modeling requirements and computing system facilities can be combined into a vision-based operating system. These concepts are embodied in tracking systems, navigating mobile robots and other robotic systems.

Two recent strong interests are seeing visual motion and adaptive triangulation for terrain representation. In the first, Jeff Boyd and I have built a system to recognize walking people using periodic variation in the 'shape of motion', a description of the instantaneous distribution of motion in a moving figure. In the second, I use curvature descriptions of surfaces to isolate terrain features, which form the skeleton of a triangulated mesh approximating the terrain. This requires work in multiscale descriptions of surfaces, surface fitting methods, and applications of computational geometry.

Selected Publications

James J. Little and Ping Shi, "Structural Lines, TINs and DEMs", Algorithmica, Special Issue on Algorithms for Geographical Information, edited by Marc van Kreveld, May, 1999. Vol. 30, 2(2001), pp.243-263.

Don R. Murray and James J. Little, "Interpreting Stereo Vision for a Mobile Robot", Autonomous Robots, Vol.8, No.2, pp.161-171.

Stephen Se, David Lowe and James J. Little, Local and Global Localization for Mobile Robot using Visual Landmarks, for Intl. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Nov., 2001.

James J. Little and Jeffrey Boyd, "Recognizing People by Their Gait: The Shape of Motion", Journal Videre, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1998, pp. 1-32.

Latest CS Courses

2019 Winter

CPSC 425  –  Computer Vision

2018 Winter

CPSC 505  –  Image Understanding I: Image Analysis

2016 Winter

CPSC 425  –  Computer Vision
CPSC 110  –  Computation, Programs, and Programming
CPSC 505  –  Image Understanding I: Image Analysis

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