I entered MIT in the fall of 1993. During the spring semester 1994 I held my first UROP, working for (now Dr.) Michael B. Johnson, perhaps better known as wave, using his WavesWorld system to create a little autonomous agent.

During the summer of 1994 I worked in the Vision and Modeling Group for Thad Starner and Prof. Alex Pentland, ostensibly porting a physics-based modeling program, ThingWorld, to the SGI Onyx RealityEngine2. However, I wound up working on ALIVE more than anything else, helping to develop the person tracking system.

In January '95 I continued working on ALIVE. I wrote some networking code to make the data connections between our programs more robust. I also began to hook up the language Scheme to our system to allow rapid prototyping of agents as well as extensibility via an interpreted language.

During the spring of '95 I didn't do much of anything in the Media Lab; I was swamped with coursework. However, I did manage to find time to spiff up wadtoiv, my Doom to Open Inventor converter. I also created wadtoiv interactive, a little hack to allow interactive browsing of a Doom level over the Web.

Over summer '95 I developed Distributed ALIVE with (now Professor) Bruce Blumberg. This system creates a "shared virtual space" between computers in which autonomous agents can roam. Users interact with these creatures using the IVE system. I also finished the first version of Header2Scheme; this program autogenerates the interface code necessary to allow access of C++ classes from within the Scheme programming language. I used this compiler to create Ivy, a Scheme interface to the Open Inventor graphics toolkit.

That fall, I fixed several bugs in my Scheme binding for Open Inventor and created the first Schemelet, an application written in Scheme which works with the World Wide Web.

During January '96, during MIT's Independent Activities Period (IAP), I taught, as the fourth annual Computer Graphics Workshop, a course on programming Open Inventor. All of the handouts are available on the Web.

During the spring term in 1996, I again found myself very busy with coursework. I did some work with video avatars for the Scientific American photo shoot at the Media Lab, but most of my time went into my team's 6.170 final project.

Over the summer of 1996 I interned at Silicon Graphics, Inc, a high-end graphics workstation manufacturer based in Mountain View, California. I worked on implementing parts of the pre-1.0 PC version of Cosmo Player, Cosmo Software's VRML 2.0 browser. I also presented a Technical Sketch at SIGGRAPH 96 on Distributed ALIVE.

In the fall of 1996 I took the introductory digital systems lab, 6.111, here at MIT. I designed and implemented a video digitizer with a low-bandwidth uplink to a host computer. The report is on-line. I hope to finish the parts which didn't work in the near future.

Over IAP 1997 I again taught the Computer Graphics Workshop. Check out the students' excellent final projects!

In the spring term of 1997 I completed my undergraduate thesis (officially, Advanced Undergraduate Project writeup) on Eigenheads. In the fall of 1997 I entered Bruce Blumberg's new Synthetic Characters group as a Master's student.


Kenneth B. Russell - kbrussel@media.mit.edu

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