Educational Initiatives


Educational Programs

Opportunities offered by the Center have brought Center researchers in contact with large numbers of K-12 students and teachers (nearly 1,000 K-12 students and 150 K-12 teachers). Connections have been created with groups that historically have had little interaction with university researchers and research labs. The pre-college programs are designed to contribute to the Center goal of drawing more students into computer science and computer graphics. Emphasis is increasingly on programs that encourage underrepresented groups, such as women and minorities, to participate. The experiences gained in intensive, hands-on workshops are being distilled into interactive materials that can potentially be used by thousands of students and teachers.

3D Computer Graphics: The Workshop in Computer Graphics (High School Teachers)
Computer Science and Graphics: The Utah High School Computer Institute (High School Students
Computer Graphics and Design: Cornell Summer Session for Design Professionals (High School Students)
Leadership and Computer Skills: The Artemis Project (Middle School Girls)



Center sites have strong undergraduate and graduate education curricula (Brown, Caltech, Cornell, UNC, Utah) that are influenced by the Center. Courses of particular interest include:

Caltech: "3D Photography" course: This lecture/laboratory course is taught by a team that includes two Center faculty. The course teaches students how to use computer vision and graphics techniques to "scan" a complete 3D object and create a 3D representation of it suitable for manipulation, processing, and transmission over the web.

Brown: The Center Director, Andries van Dam leads a popular seminar each year on educational software in which undergraduates work with local middle-school and high-school teachers to develop software filling immediate classroom needs. Center undergraduates have created a Web site based on this course that makes its many useful software projects available to teachers world-wide, see

Utah: A Center's research faculty member teaches a design course for mechanical engineering undergraduates that includes designing, bullding, and racing real vehicles. Students use the Alpha_1 research system for integrated design, process planning, and manufacturing to help them build the custom subsystems they need.

UNC: (graduate course, UNC does not have an undergraduate computer science program) Exploring Virtual Worlds is taught by a Center PI and a Center faculty member who is also a Site Coordinator. In this lecture/seminar and project course students examine and experiment with real-time interactive graphics systems in which the user is "immersed" in and interacts with a virtual environment. Course materials, including lecture notes, homework assignments, and project examples are available online at
Cornell's Johnson School of Management: "Imaging and the Electronic Age" introduces business students to emerging technologies and changing paradigms of communications and computing. The relationship between the Cornell site and the Johnson School is expected to expand further in the near future. (No additional online information at this time.)

Cornell: Undergraduate Project Portfolios. Students from Cornell's Architecture department are given an opportunity to supplement their studio education with hands-on computer modeling experience. The images they create in some cases constitute a large portion of their thesis work and the models that the students make are used by our researchers to test our global illumination algorithms.

Educational Programs

In addition, the Center runs educational outreach programs for undergraduates that help bring new students into the field of computer science and that encourage participation in math and science courses and related research activities.

Introduction to Computer Science: The Bridge Course (Incoming Freshmen from underrepresented groups)
Introduction to Science and Research: The Utah ACCESS Program (Incoming Freshwomen from underrepresented groups)

Academic Advising and Mentoring for Math and Science: Undergraduate Research Access (Undergraduate Students)


Center-wide Graduate Televideo Seminar

The Center is in the sixth year of its pioneering year-long all-site televideo seminar, attended and taught by all five sites. The seminar is offered for credit at three of the sites and is attended by approximately 70 students/year, having reached almost 300 students since its inception. A unique feature of the Center graduate experience, this seminar provides access to information and people well beyond the scope of any single university. Graduate students also use the televideo system as part of a research lab without walls to discuss collaborative work. Lecture titles for the 2000-2001 seminar can be found here.

Graduate Student Workshops

Our popular week-long Center graduate student workshops are in their third year, with participants from each of the sites gathering at a different Center location each year. Nearly 80 graduate students have participated. Agendas, presentation abstracts, images and references, and student commentary can be viewed online.

Many students compare the experience favorably with a full-fledged graphics conference and feel that they have gained a better understanding not only of the work of their distributed Center colleagues, but of the field in general. The chance to visit other Center sites and see different approaches to graphics research is felt to be particularly rewarding.


Women's Televideo Roundtable on Computer Science Graduate School and Careers.

The Center is taking further advantage of its televideo system by hosting a series of roundtable discussions with speakers and audiences from different sites of the Center. The first talk, with four female faculty and a Ph.D. student speaker (representing four of the five sites), had over 50 undergraduate and graduate participants (from all sites), including members of the ACCESS Program. This roundtable was designed to help students understand the options open to them in both academia and industry and to extend their network of female colleagues.


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