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NYU’s Perlin Recognized for Innovations in Computer Graphics

August 18, 2008
N-517, 2007-2008

New York University’s Ken Perlin, a professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, has been recognized by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (ACM SIGGRAPH) for his “broad contributions and impact across computer graphics,” the organization announced this week.

The founding director of NYU’s Media Research Lab, Perlin has produced a variety of innovations in rendering, modeling, animation and user interfaces and has inspired several new lines of research. Most recently, Perlin and Ilya Rosenberg, a doctoral student, have developed the UnMousePad, in which users forego the mouse and simply navigate a computer by touching a mouse pad. The lab has also recently unveiled the iBird, a “bird-flight simulator” that gives one the sensation of flying through a virtual world while remaining firmly planted on the ground.

Perlin has also developed computer-generated characters that can react with facial expressions and body language, but without using repetitive, pre-built animations, thereby enhancing the realistic nature of their responses. The technology helps children with affective disorders learn to recognize emotional facial expressions. However, it is also used in Vivendi’s “Half Life 2” game, which was released in 2004. Specifically, Perlin turns research on human behavior into increasingly realistic computer characters.

Prior to coming to NYU, Perlin was an animation architect at Mathematical Applications Group, Inc., where he worked on the 1982 motion picture Tron, which introduced film goers to landmark film graphics. In addition, he captured an academy award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his widely used procedural texturing techniques.

In recent years, Perlin has been developing innovative game-based approaches to science education for school-aged children. He has shared his inventions through his “The Web as a Procedural Sketchbook” ( Through this site, others can view his art, play whimsical games, and learn fundamental concepts.

“Running through all of Ken’s research are common threads of promoting community, supporting expressiveness and exploration, and forming bridges between technology and artistic expression,” ACM said in its announcement.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Graduate School of Arts and Science

Type: Press Release

Professor Ken Perlin, the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU

Professor Ken Perlin, the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU

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