Jessi Stumpfel, Andrew Jones, Andreas Wagner, Chris Tchou, Tim Hawkins, Paul Debevec: “Direct HDR Capture of the Sun and Sky”

We present a technique for capturing the extreme dynamic range of natural illumination environments that include the sun and sky, which has presented a challenge for traditional high dynamic range photography processes. We find that through careful selection of exposure times, aperture, and neutral density filters that this full range can be covered in seven exposures with a standard digital camera. We discuss the particular calibration issues such as lens vignetting, infrared sensitivity, and spectral transmission of neutral density filters which must be addressed. We present an adaptive exposure range adjustment technique for minimizing the number of exposures necessary. We demonstrate our results by showing time-lapse renderings of a complex scene illuminated by high-resolution, high dynamic range natural illumination environments.

ICT in OK and WIRED

ICT’s JFETS work at Fort Sill, Oklahoma – a multi-sensory platform in which future soldiers will train for battle – is the focus of the article “The War Room” in Wired Magazine.  The hard copy magazine hits newsstand on August 24.

Read the article.

Jonathan Gratch, Wenji Mao: “Social Judgment in Multiagent Interactions”

Social judgment is a process of social explanation whereby one evaluates which entities deserve credit or blame for multi-agent activities. Such explanations are a key aspect of inference in a social environment and a model of this process can advance several design components of multi-agent systems. Social judgment underlies social planning, social learning, natural language pragmatics and computational model of emotion. Based on psychological attribution theory, this paper presents a computational approach to forming social judgment based on an agents causal knowledge and communicative interactions with other agents.

Jonathan Gratch, Stacy Marsella: “Evaluating the modeling and use of emotion in virtual humans”

Spurred by a range of potential applications, there has been a growing body of research in computational models of human emotion. To advance the development of these models, it is critical that we begin to evaluate them against the phenomena they purport to model. In this paper, we present one methodology to evaluate an emotion model. The methodology is based on comparing the behavior of the computational model against human behavior, using a standard clinical instrument for assessing human emotion and coping. We use this methodology to evaluate the EMA model of emotion. The model did quite well. And, as expected, the comparison helped identify where the model needs further development.

Hyeok-soo Kim, Jonathan Gratch: “A Planner-Independent Collaborative Planning Assistant”

This article introduces a novel approach to the problem of collaborative planning. We present a method that takes classical one-shot planning techniques – that take a fixed set of goals, initial state, and a domain theory – and adapts them to support the incremental, hierarchical and exploratory nature of collaborative planning that occurs between human planners, and that multi-agent planning systems attempt to support. This approach is planner-independent – in that it could be applied to any classical planning technique – and recasts the problem of collaborative planning as a search through a space of possible inputs to a classical planning system. This article outlines the technique and describes its application to the Mission Rehearsal Exercise, a multi-agent training system.

The Parthenon Premiered At SIGGRAPH 2004 Electronic Theater

The Parthenon, the ICT graphics lab’s computer animation that features photoreal models of the Parthenon and its sculptures, premiered at the SIGGRAPH 2004 Electronic Theater. The film showcased novel research techniques in deriving surface reflectance properties from images, capturing and simulating real-world natural illumination, and building models from 3D scanner data. Technical sketches on the research given by Chris Tchou and Per Einarsson were well-received. The film virtually reunited the Parthenon in Greece with its sculptures in London, briefly restoring the monument to its original glory.

Scent Your Senses: The SEE Project’s Scent Collar a big hit at SIGGRAPH!

The Scent Collar, developed by ICT and AnthroTronix, was featured at the SIGGRAPH 2004 Cyber Fashion show with the tag line: The Ultimate in Cyber Diva Chic Couture. Its use as a means of augmenting emotional connection in Immersive Environments was described as model Lizbeth Goodman walked down the runway wearing the collar.

Shown in the photo are NYC scent designer Gayill Nalls, who created four unique designer aromas for the SIGGRAPH debut: fire, air, earth and water (since our swamp and other realistic environment smells would not have been suitable!), model Lizbeth Goodman, also Director of London’s SmartLab, and ICT’s Jacki Morie, getting a good sniff!

Read the Scent Collar Brochure.

ICT Featured In Rolling Stone Magazine

In the August 19th issue of Rolling Stone, ICT was featured under the section “Hot Geeks.” The following is an excerpt from that article. “ICT attracted an unlikely array of Hollywood talent, from Paul Debevec, who helped devise the bullet-time effects in The Matrix, to David Ayer, the young screenwriter of The Fast and the Furious and Training Day, to Ron Cobb, who helped design the Alien movies after a career as an underground political cartoonist. ‘We’re trying to create situations that emotionally evoke the problems these military guys have to work through,’ says Jonathan Gratch, an artificial-intelligence scientist at ICT. The weirdest and most unsettling of these artificial worlds is the Sensory Environments Evaluation project, an immersive virtual-reality tunnel that can re-create unpleasant environments with astonishing verisimilitude. Another project, dubbed FlatWorld, allows users to experience virtual worlds- say a Baghdad street corner under enemy fire – without wearing clunky goggles. ‘You can create veterans who’ve never seen combat,’ says Ayer.”

Read the full story.

Arno Hartholt, Stacy Marsella, Jonathan Gratch, David Traum, Tijmen Muller: “Do You Want To Talk About It? A First Step Towards Emotion Integrated Dialogue”

In this paper, we describe an implemented system for emotion-referring dialogue. An agent can engage in emotion-referring dialogue if it first has a model of its own emotions, and secondly has a way of talking about them. We create this facility in the MRE Project’s virtual humans, building upon the existing emotion and dialogue facilities of these agents.

David Traum, Stacy Marsella, Jonathan Gratch: “Emotion and Dialogue in the MRE Virtual Humans”

We describe the emotion and dialogue aspects of the virtual agents used in the MRE project at USC. The models of emotion and dialogue started independently, though each makes crucial use of a central task model. In this paper we describe the task model, dialogue model, and emotion model, and the interactions between them.

Wenji Mao, Jonathan Gratch: “A Utility-based Approach to Intention Recognition”

Based on the assumption that a rational agent will adopt a plan that maximizes the expected utility, we present a utility-based approach to plan recognition problem in this paper. The approach explicitly takes the observed agent’s preferences into consideration, and computes the estimated expected utilities of plans to disambiguate competing hypotheses. Online plan recognition is realized by incrementally using plan knowledge and observations to change state probabilities. We also discuss the work and compare it with other probabilistic models in the paper.

CD/V Production Wins US International Film Festival “Golden Camera”

Nowhere to Hide, a short film created by ICT’s Concept Development & Visualization team for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, PM Unit of Action Technologies, won First Place in the Training & Education category in the 37th annual US International Film & Video Festival. The festival is the definitive corporate, government and educational film festival in the world. The ICT entry prevailed over 1,500 entries from 27 countries. The film will be recognized in an awards ceremony at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles on June 12.

Jonathan Gratch, Stacy Marsella: “Evaluating a General Model of Emotional Appraisal and Coping”

In our research, we have developed a general computational model of human emotion. The model attempts to account for both the factors that give rise to emotions as well as the wide-ranging impact emotions have on cognitive and behavioral responses. Emotions influence our beliefs, our decision-making and how we adapt our behavior to the world around us. While most apparent in moments of great stress, emotions sway even the mundane decisions we face in everyday life. Emotions also infuse our social relationships. Our interactions with each other are a source of many emotions and we have developed a range of behaviors that can communicate emotional information as well as an ability to recognize and be influenced by the emotional arousal of others. By virtue of their central role and wide influence, emotion arguably provides the means to coordinate the diverse mental and physical components required to respond to the world in a coherent fashion.