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How will Hamlet find the Holodeck?

October 26, 2004

Date: Tuesday October 26, 2004
Time: 11am-12:15pm
Location: Woodward 149

Ken Perlin <>
Computer Science Department Media Research Laboratory Center for Anvanced Technology New York University  

Abstract: Character driven narrative, which drives such media as theatre, novels and cinema, is one of the primary ways that a society collectively explores that great human obsession: the human condition. Computer-mediated interactive media can bring powerful new voices to this tradition, but only when two specific kinds of tools are sufficiently developed: (i) generation of contingent narratives that can shift interactively based on character, personality, psychological state, and kinship groups, and (ii) effective virtual actors that can convey subtle, dynamic and conflicting emotional states. I will lay out a roadmap for achieving those goals, and I will show work that we've already done toward achieving powerful and believable virtual actors. I will conclude with some thoughts about what a psychologically mature interactive narrative medium might be like, and why it will utterly change our culture.

Bio: Ken Perlin is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at New York University. He is the Director of the Media Research Laboratory and the co-Director of the NYU Center for Advanced Technology. His research interests include graphics, animation, and multimedia. In January 2004 he was the featured artist at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2002 he received the NYC Mayor's award for excellence in Science and Technology and the Sokol award for outstanding Science faculty at NYU. In 1997 he won an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his noise and turbulence procedural texturing techniques, which are widely used in feature films and television. In 1991 he received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Perlin received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University in 1986, and a B.A. in theoretical mathematics from Harvard University in 1979. He was Head of Software Development at R/GREENBERG Associates in New York, NY from 1984 through 1987. Prior to that, from 1979 to 1984, he was the System Architect for computer generated animation at Mathematical Applications Group, Inc., Elmsford, NY, where the first feature film he worked on was TRON.