Eston Schweickart

Eston Schweickart

Ph.D. Candidate, Cornell University

ers {at} cs {dot} cornell {dot} edu

About Me

I am a computer science Ph.D. candidate currently studying with Steve Marschner in the Graphics and Vision Lab at Cornell University. My research interests include physically based animation and sound synthesis.

I started at Cornell in August of 2013. Before that, I graduated from Oberlin College, where I received a B.A. with high honors in computer science and minored in mathematics. For full details on my background, please see my C.V.

Research Publications

Animating Elastic Rods with Sound
Eston Schweickart, Doug L. James, and Steve Marschner.
ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH 2017). 36(4), Article 115. July 2017.
Sound generation methods, such as linear modal synthesis, can sonify a wide range of physics-based animation of solid objects, resolving vibrations and sound radiation from various structures. However, elastic rods are an important computer animation primitive for which prior sound synthesis methods, such as modal synthesis, are ill-suited for several reasons: large displacements, nonlinear vibrations, dispersion effects, and the geometrically singular nature of rods.

In this paper, we present physically based methods for simultaneous generation of animation and sound for deformable rods. We draw on Kirchhoff theory to simplify the representation of rod dynamics and introduce a generalized dipole model to calculate the spatially varying acoustic radiation. In doing so, we drastically decrease the amount of precomputation required (in some cases eliminating it completely), while being able to resolve sound radiation for arbitrary body deformations encountered in computer animation. We present several examples, including challenging scenes involving thousands of highly coupled frictional contacts.
Data-Driven Guides: Supporting Expressive Design for Information Graphics
Nam Wook Kim, Eston Schweickart, Zhicheng Liu, Mira Dontcheva, Wilmot Li, Jovan Popovic, and Hanspeter Pfister.
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis 2016). 23(1). January 2017.
In recent years, there is a growing need for communicating complex data in an accessible graphical form. Existing visualization creation tools support automatic visual encoding, but lack flexibility for creating custom design; on the other hand, freeform illustration tools require manual visual encoding, making the design process time-consuming and error-prone. In this paper, we present Data-Driven Guides (DDG), a technique for designing expressive information graphics in a graphic design environment. Instead of being confined by predefined templates or marks, designers can generate guides from data and use the guides to draw, place and measure custom shapes. We provide guides to encode data using three fundamental visual encoding channels: length, area, and position. Users can combine more than one guide to construct complex visual structures and map these structures to data. When underlying data is changed, we use a deformation technique to transform custom shapes using the guides as the backbone of the shapes. Our evaluation shows that data-driven guides allow users to create expressive and more accurate custom data-driven graphics.

Other Research Experiences

Research Internship at Adobe Research
June-September 2015
Mentors: Danny Kaufman and Jovan Popovic
In the summer of 2015, I was an intern at Adobe Research in Seattle, Washington. I worked with Danny Kaufman and Jovan Popovic to develop a framework that took as input static 2D vector artwork of a character, along with motion data for various parts of a character (e.g., the head, torso, legs, and feet). After a few seconds of user input and precomputation, the framework would produce an animation of the character which matched the input motion data. The method was able to process many categories of character artwork, composed of anywhere from one to hundreds of SVG shapes.

Research Internship at Mozilla
June-August 2013
Mentor: Patrick Walton
I worked as a Research Intern at Mozilla in the summer of 2013, developing an implementation of scalable tiled graphics using layered quadtrees. This work was integrated into Servo, an experimental web browser engine. Servo is written in Rust, a safe, concurrent, and fast programming language also under development at Mozilla. At the end of the summer, I gave a talk about my work.

Honors Project at Oberlin College
August 2012-May 2013
Mentor: Bob Geitz
I pursued a year long research project as part of the honors program at Oberlin College. I constructed a program that displayed water and electricity usage in Oberlin dormitories over time using interactive graphs created using 3D modeling software. Users were able to compare this data with daily weather conditions using 3D-model texturing. I then conducted a user study to determine what effect, if any, using relevant texturing patterns had on the speed at which users could interpret and process the data, as compared to a color key. I discovered that relevant icons within the graph generally had a positive effect on the rate at which information was gained. I wrote a final report summarizing my findings, and gave a presentation to the computer science department.

REU at University of North Carolina, Charlotte
June-July 2012
Mentor: Aidong Lu
In the summer of 2012, I took part in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where I worked with Dr. Aidong Lu in the Visualization Department. I created a portable tool for visualizing dynamic networks that elucidated both major and subtle patterns within the data. Constructed using the javascript-based visualization library D3, the program imported data sets containing networks (optionally with temporal data attached) and displayed them using several different visualization techniques. Using D3 meant that the program was not tied to a specific application, and I implemented various displays of the data to work with diverse datasets. I made and presented a poster at the concluding undergraduate research symposium, and I delivered a presentation to the program supervisors and participants.

Research Internship at Van Andel Research Institute
June-August 2011
Mentor: Kyle Furge
I was Frederick and Lena Meijer Student Intern at the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) under scientific investigator Kyle Furge in the summer of 2011. VARI, located in Grand Rapids, MI, focuses on the discovery of treatments for several types of cancer. I built a computational model of growing and mutating cancer cells with which I was able to show a detectable difference between genetic and epigenetic drug-defense mechanisms used by cancer cells. I also developed a method for determining which mechanism is causing drug resistance in vitro. The program was constructed using NetLogo, which represented the model through an interactive visual interface from which I conducted experiments. I presented my work to the VARI faculty at the end of the program.

Professional/Academic Activities

I have worked as a T.A. nearly every semester since coming to Cornell. My duties have included giving lectures, holding discussion sections, designing homework and exam questions, holding office hours, and grading.
I regularly volunteer for the annual Expanding your Horizons event, which is a S.T.E.M. conference for 7-9th grade girls hosted by Cornell. I am usually involved with organizing a workshop in which we introduce students to basic computer science concepts using the Scratch programming environment.

I assist with the weekly C.S. Brown Bag Seminar, which involves inviting and introducing speakers within the field of Computer Science at Cornell. I am also the secretary for the Computer Science Graduate Organization.


Since I am originally from Colorado, I am obliged to acknowledge my love of hiking and skiing. I occasionally compose electronic music, peck around on guitar, and play steel drums.

Last updated June 2017. Thanks to Kira Goldner for help with site design.