WPI Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Computer Science Department

CS 563 '99 - Advanced Topics in Computer Graphics Home Page

Course Overview

The goal of this course is to expose students to a wide range of state-of-the-art research, techniques, and systems in the field of computer graphics. The format of the course will consist of weekly seminars, where each student will be responsible for presenting 3-4 seminars AND participating in seminars other than his or her own. There will be no exams. Students will be graded on the quality of their presentations and accompanying write-up as well as their participation in classroom discussions.


Students are free to select (with my approval) any topic found in current graphics literature for their presentations. This may focus on a single algorithm, a comparison of algorithms, or an overview of a topic, language, or system. You should try to choose a good blend of formats and topics. The text (Advanced Animation and Rendering Techniques, by Watt and Watt) introduces a wide range of these topics and can be used as a foundation for your presentation or as a lead to more specific journal or conference articles. I also have a good selection of material on scientific visualization, including some videos, which you may use as a resource (see below). If one of your presentations focusses on a particular article or set of articles, you must provide me with a copy of each article at least 2 weeks prior to your presentation. Do not be too broad; I'd rather see you do a thorough job of covering a focussed topic rather than a shallow overview of a large field.

Presentation Format

Students must come prepared with transparencies, slides, videos, handouts, and any other instructional aid determined to be useful in presenting the material. Computer demonstrations are encouraged for applicable topics. If you need any computer or projection facilities for your presentation, see me about making the arrangements. The presentation should last approximately 45 minutes, followed by questions and informal discussion. If your presentation is based on a section of the text, you should mention this at least one week prior to your talk to allow students time to read the appropriate pages. Likewise, if the class would benefit from reading an article prior to your presentation, please provide copies of the article at least one week prior to your talk.

Other Guidelines

In chosing a topic, you might want to consider (at least for your first talk) an area in which you already have some interest and/or knowledge to help you quickly focus your efforts. You should include a reading list (if applicable) in your presentation for those interested in pursuing your topic further. I expect each student to spend a minimum of 20 hours preparing each talk. Remember, most of your grade for this course is in your presentations and accompanying write-ups, and most weeks you will only spend a few hours reading for other people's talks. This leaves a lot of time to do your work, so there is no excuse for shoddy work. Each write-up, consisting of a 1-3 page summary of your presentation, should be turned in within 2 weeks of the corresponding talk, and definitely prior to the end of the term. The write-up should be done in HTML so that it may be added to the WWW repository for this course. See the reports from 1995 for examples of acceptable formats.

Sample Topics

Modeling non-rigid objects
Modeling natural phenomena 
Grammar-based modeling
Evolutionary procedural modeling
Particle systems
Finite element methods in graphics
Visualizing multivariate data
Surface/light interactions
Forward or backward ray tracing
Coherence in ray tracing
Flow visualization
Volume visualization
Graphics architectures
Graphics languages
Object-oriented graphics
Topics in computational geometry
Efficiency and complexity issues in graphics algorithms
Graphics and human perception
Molecular graphics
Fractals and chaos
Interactions in virtual reality
Texture mapping
Animating position, speed, or orientation
Animating articulated structures

Presentation Summaries

  1. Presentations from 1995 class
  2. Presentations from 1997 class
  3. Presentations from 1999 class

Text Resources

  1. text books
  2. journals
  3. conference proceedings
  4. articles referenced in 1995 talks
  5. articles referenced in 1997 talks

Software Resources

Web Sites of Interest

News Groups of Interest

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Matthew O. Ward (matt@cs.wpi.edu)