1998 - 1999 CS Annual Report                                                                  Faculty
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Donald P. Greenberg

Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Computer Graphics
Director, Program of Computer Graphics
Director, NSF Science & Technology Center for Computer Graphics and Scientific Visualization

PhD Cornell University, 1968

The Program of Computer Graphics is best known for pioneering work on realistic image synthesis, including the radiosity method for calculating direct and indirect illumination in synthetic scenes. Our long-term goal is to develop physically -based lighting models and  perceptually based rendering

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procedures to produce images that are visually and measurably indistinguishable from real-world images.

Over the past two decades, we have articulated and refined a framework for global illumination research incorporating light reflection models, energy transport simulation, and visual display algorithms. Our current goal is to solve these computationally demanding simulations in real time using an experimental cluster of tightly coupled processors and specialized display hardware. We are achieving this goal by taking advantage of increased on-chip processing power, distributed processing using shared memory resources, and instructional-level parallelism of algorithms. 

Our graphics research also involves three-dimensional modeling of very complex environments and new approaches for modeling architectural designs. We have developed a new paradigm for
architectural sketch modeling on new design workstations, which allow sketching with a pen directly on a large display surface. Traditional sketching skills are augmented through 3D interfaces which merge conceptual design with rendered 3D models and allow collaborative sketching across networks, whether in the same room or across the country. These new tools 
are being tested each semester in a unique undergraduate architectural design studio in our lab. 

New developments in image capture are also rapidly changing the way we model and render 3D environments. By extracting depth and orientation from series of images, we can not only reconstruct seamless panoramas for passive viewing but can merge image data into 3D models for active design manipulation. Both these research projects take full advantage of a calibrated, wide-field display system driven by three high-resolution, high-dynamic range digital light valve
projectors that provide a life-size, twenty foot wide image that delivers more than four megapixels of resolution at interactive frame rates. 

Our lab has been a pioneer in distance learning through the NSF Graphics and Visualization Center, a distributed center for fundamental research in computer graphics. We have six years
of working together remotely, including teaching a collaborative advanced seminar in computer graphics across our five sites (Brown, Caltech, Cornell, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the University
of Utah). The value of dedicated, high-bandwidth connections has been proven, but we are pushing forward to enhance the sense of direct person-to-person contact for distance learning through improved telepresence and innovative educational approaches. 

University Activities 

  • Director: Program of Computer Graphics  

  • Founding Director: NSF Graphics and Visualization Center, 1991-95 

  • Professor: Faculty of Computer & Information Science, Johnson Graduate School of
    Management, Department of Architecture 

Professional Activities 
  • Member: National Academy of Engineering  
  • Founding Fellow: American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering  
  • Fellow: ACM  
  • Editorial Board: Computer Graphics Journal, Computer Aided Design Journal 


  • The Impact of technological Change On Corporate Strategy. Sage Hall Dedication, Cornell
    Univ., Oct 2, 1998. 
  • The Evolution of 3D: the Path to Photorealism. Microprocessor Forum, San Jose, CA, Oct 13, 1998. 
  • Technology Overview: Computer Graphics. '98 Next Generation of Manufacturing Technology, Cornell Univ., Nov 9, 1998.  
  • The State of the Art, and Implementation of New Technology. '98 Next Generation of Manufacturing Technology, Cornell Univ, Nov9, 1998.  
  • Acceptance speech for honorary doctorate degree. New Jersey Institute of Technology, NJ, May 20, 1999. 
  • Workshop on Rendering, Perception and Measurement. Program of Computer Graphics,
    Cornell Univ., Apr. 8- 10, 1999. 
  • A multiscale model of adaptation and spatial vision for realistic image display. Annual
    Conference Series, SIGGRAPH Proceedings, ACM (July 1998), 287-298 (with S. Patanaik, J. Ferwerda and M. Fairchild).  
  • Semi-automatic generation of transfer functions for direct volume rendering. In IEEE Symposium on Volume Rendering Proceedings (Oct 1998) (with G. Kindlmann and
    J. Durkin).  
  • Dichromatic based photographic modification. In Proceedings of the Sixth Color Imaging Conference, Society for Imaging Science and Technology, (Nov 1998) (with L. Peng).  
  • Multiscale model of adaptation, spatial vision and color appearance. In Proceedings of
    the Sixth Color Imaging Conference, Society for Imaging Science and Technology
    (Nov 1998) (S.  Pattanaik, M. Fairchild and J. Ferwerda)  
  • Reflectance Measurements of human Skin. TR99-2, Program of Computer Graphics,
    Cornell Univ. (Jan. 1999) (with S. Marschner, S. Westin, E. Lafortune and K. Torrance) 
  • Image-based BRDF measurement. TR99-1, Program of Computer Graphics, Cornell Univ. (Jan. 1999) (with S. Marschner, E. Lafortune, S. Westin and K. Torrance) 
  • Image-based brdf measurement including human skin. In Eurographics Workshop on Rendering (June 1999) (with S. Marschner, S. Westin, E. Lafortune and K. Torrance)