Over the past two decades, we have articulated and refined a framework for global illumination research. The framework incorporates light reflection models, energy transport simulation, and visual display algorithms.
Using our sophisticated light measurement laboratory, we have derived an accurate, physically-based local light reflection model for arbitrary reflectance functions and can compare simulations with real-world environments.
The second part of our research framework involves the accurate simulation of the physical propogation of light energy. We are now attempting to solve these computationally demanding simulations in real time.
The last stage of image synthesis incorporates human perceptual factors to generate a visual image. Using a visual model to determine the visual mapping from simulated scene radiances to display device radiances, we can produce
images predictive of what observers in the simulated scene would see. The techniques will provide a feedback loop to improve the efficiency of computations.
Our graphics research also involves three-dimensional modeling of very complex environments. Additional application research is being conducted in volume rendering, medical imaging, generic tooks for scientific visualization, input software for preliminary architecture design, digital photography, and core technologies for multimedia environments.
Most of the research is conducted within the Program of Computer Graphics, a member of the NSF Science and Technology Center for Computer Graphics and Scientific Visualization. Other members are Brown, Cal Tech, North Carolina (Chapel Hill), and Utah.