John F Hughes
Professor of Computer Science, Associate Chair of Computer Science
|Graphics and Visualization
Tell us a little about your background: educational, professional, personal, etc.
I started in mathematics, doing a little programming on the side to earn money in grad school. My dissertation was one of the first ones in math to use a computer algebra system to help with proofs. After grad school, I taught at Bryn Mawr College for two years, came to Brown as an Assistant Prof. in Math, and gradually drifted into Computer Science.
What do you focus on in your research? Any recent advances?
Most of my research is in computer graphics, especially in informal modes of input and output. I'm interested in sketching as means to describe shape, and in expressive (rather than photorealistic) renderings as a way to communicate information to the viewer. But in general, I'm fond of any topic with enough mathematics in it. I've recently become interested in machine learning.
How did you become interested in computer science?
My dad worked with computers starting in the late 1950s, and I wrote my first program when I was 12 years old. (I played my first video game -- "Space Wars" -- when I was about 8.) After that, I was hooked.
What is your favorite thing about Brown?
It's great that students here have such wide-ranging interests.
Any hobbies or passions?
Sailing. Iceboating. My family (which comes under "passions" rather than "hobbies").