Computer Graphics Community

Organizer: Eurographics Workshop on Computational Aesthetics for Graphics, Visualization and Imaging (May 2005 Girona Spain) [Webpage]

Program Committee: Interactive 3D (I3D) (April 2005 Washinton D.C.) [Webpage]

Organizer: Midgraph (November 2004 Northwestern University) [Webpage]

Founding Online Editor: ACM Transactions on Applied Perception [Webpage]

Computer Science Department

The Computer Science Department at Northwestern suffers from low retention rates. Undergraduate students leave the major for two reasons: a failure to establish a social network, and a failure to become academically involved in classes. Students who work together on projects and course work are better able to form social networks and become involved in the academic community. Therefore, the major emphasis of Professors Gooch's service effort inside the department is the creation of a computer science culture that encourages peer-supported education and focuses on integrating research experience into the undergraduate curriculum.
The founding of two fledgling undergraduate-specific groups, the Undergraduate Research Team and the Student Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Chapter, lays the groundwork for a healthy and constructive computer science community. As a case in point, within weeks of being founded, the ACM students developed software beyond the scope of any of their individual efforts. Professor Gooch is the founder of the Undergraduate Research Team and the faculty sponsor for the Northwestern ACM Chapter.

The Undergraduate Research Team (UGRT)
Integrating research experience into the undergraduate curriculum is the goal of the Undergraduate Research Team. This unique program provides undergraduate students with research experience by placing them in small development teams. Graduate students and advanced undergraduates serve as team leaders to learn mentoring and leadership skills. The team leaders act as a catalyst for peer-centered learning by giving intermediate and novice students the opportunity to interact one-on-one with their more experienced peers.

The Boyer Report notes that exposing undergraduates to academic research, acquaints them to the notion and nature of graduate school. Vast numbers of internships allow students to acquire first-hand knowledge of industry. In academia however, the scarcity of research opportunities hinders most students from gaining similar experiences. The Undergraduate Research Team provides students with two types of academic internships. Students can choose Research Education for Undergraduates projects, in which they assist with experimental research and software development. Students may also participate in research related activities for course credit.

UGRT Course: Research Teams Fundamentals and Management(CS399 Northwestern University)
  • Designed and developed the course.
    [ Spring 2004 Webpage] [ Fall 2004 Webpage]
    The Research Teams: Fundamentals and Management (RTFM) courses provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to participate in and contribute to their research community in a peer-oriented educational setting. The educational motivation is based on the notion that one learns best when directly engaged in experimentation and reflection. The research motivation and course topic varies with each seminar.

    UGRT Independent Projects: Illustrated Worlds
    The second phase of undergraduate research team development is engaging students in longer term projects. The first such project is, Illustrated Worlds, a digital archaeological reconstruction project. The goal of this project is to explore the use of non-photorealistic images to aid viewers in understanding the abstract concept of data uncertainty via archaeological reconstructions. Students will be responsible for generating interactive 3D models of Frank Lloyd Wright's Midway Gardens and for rendering the models using NPR pen and ink or pencil drawing algorithms. Midway Gardens is an ideal choice for digital reconstruction because of its local significance and our access to primary documentation materials.

    The premise of the project is that students will jointly pursue the interesting challenge of creating a software system for interactive illustration. They will be directly confronted with the possibility of unearthing difficulties that force them to abandon their methodology and reevaluate their approach. This will present the students with the critical experience of creatively exploring an open-ended project alongside leading experts. At the conclusion of the project, students will have a better sense of whether they consider graduate research a feasible and desirable career path.