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The Randy Pausch Memorial Bridge will be a physical connection between the School of Computer Science's new building and the School of Drama's home, much as Pausch was an inspirational and intellectual connection between computer science and the arts. Pausch's widow, Jai, and other family members will participate in the ceremony and Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. The pedestrian bridge was part of the original plan for the Gates Center and the adjoining Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies, designed by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects of Atlanta, Ga. The south sidewall of the bridge, for instance, has a theme derived from "The First Penguin Award." Pausch would present the award to students whose projects took big conceptual or technological gambles, even though they weren't successful.
The sidewall, which extends from the handrail to below the bridge deck, consists of aluminum panels with cutouts in abstract shapes based on leaping penguins.
The north side of the bridge has frosted glass sidewalls and continuous white LED lighting for safety. On the Gates Center end of the bridge, aluminum screens will cover a brick wall — a metaphor Pausch used throughout his lecture to describe obstacles that stand between people and their dreams. The new buildings were occupied by faculty and staff from the School of Computer Science in August and were dedicated during a Sept. Pictured above is the Randy Pausch Memorial Bridge, which spans the hollow between the Gates Center (left) and the Purnell Center (right). Nearly everyone converges at once into the classroom in Newell-Simon Hall, where Whittaker will listen to his students' progress reports.
The students discuss everything they need: a booth for the meeting, a satellite truck, computers, cameras, cables, halogen lights, sensors, a trailer. The trailer is equipped with computers, chairs, video cameras, generators, lasers, nuts and bolts, and two items that turn out to be crucial: garbage bags and toilet paper.
Baker steers the robot using the computer's arrow keys to turn right or left and the home key to go straight ahead. During the first run, Groundhog makes it 31 meters into the mine, reemerging with its wheels covered in a bright orange muck, evidence of the iron and sulfur in the soil. The robot lumbers deeper and deeper into the water of the mine, churning up chunks of shale.
In announcing the award, the robotics trade group credits Whittaker, who is director of Carnegie Mellon's Field Robotic Center, with coining the term "field robotics" to describe research on robots that work in outdoor terrains. Whittaker is also chief scientist and cofounder of RedZone Robotics Inc., a Pittsburgh firm that develops robotic solutions to industry problems. Last summer, like the rest of his neighbors in Ligonier, Pa., antiques dealer and painter David M. A few months later he was playing a priest in a re-creation of that drama, "The Pennsylvania Miners' Story," broadcast on ABC, Nov. Some of the miners and their wives came to observe the filming but stayed for only short periods, apparently troubled by the memories the dramatization stirred up, Macerelli remembers.
While Mobile Robot Development students were building their mine-mapping robots in the fall, five students in S. Mor and his teammates, who named the fledgling mine-mapping company Black Rabbit Subterranean Mapping, decided it should sell mine-mapping robots' customized services, rather than the robots themselves, to mining and engineering companies. Black Rabbit robots could map operating mines and evaluate conditions in the 5 percent of abandoned mines that pose safety concerns. After watching the Mobile Robot Development students build a mine-mapping robot in 60 days, Mor cast skepticism aside. Computational Photography is an emerging new field created by the convergence of computer graphics, computer vision and photography. This course introduces techniques for computer animation such as keyframing, procedural methods, motion capture, and simulation.
Students in this course will learn to use computer-based tools such as Maya to create artistic animation.
This course will cover tools and techniques for programming interactive games and virtual reality simulations. Physically based simulation techniques have revolutionized special effects in film and video games, creating extremely realistic effects while allowing unprecedented artistic control and avoiding dangerous situations.
This course introduces students to physically based modeling for computer graphics and related fields, and summarizes current research issues. This course is an in-depth study of recently developed techniques for using data to produce character animations.
Visual computing tasks such as 3D graphics and image processing are increasingly important to the capabilities and overall user experience delivered by computer systems ranging from high-end workstations to sensor-rich smart phones. This course is an in-depth study of recently developed techniques for creating natural human motion for robotics and computer animation. This course will explore topics in physically based character animation, where the goal is to obtain a character performance that appears both natural and physically plausible. In this course, we will survey robotic hands and learn about the human hand with the goal of understanding hand design and control for dexterity. This course covers the fundamentals of vision cameras and other sensors - how they function, how they are built, and how to use them effectively. The goal of this graduate seminar course is to gain a deeper understanding of the computer vision problem in order to better reason about ways data and learning could be used to tackle it. Everyday we observe an extraordinary array of light and color phenomena around us, ranging from the dazzling effects of the atmosphere, the complex appearances of surfaces and materials and underwater scenarios.
The Open Learning Initiative (OLI) is a grant-funded group at Carnegie Mellon University, offering innovative online courses to anyone who wants to learn or teach. The Bachelor of Science program in Computer Science combines a solid core of Computer Science courses with the ability to gain substantial depth in another area through a required minor in a second subject.
The curriculum's mathematics and statistics component ensures that students have the formal tools to remain current as technologies and systems change, rather than be limited by a narrow focus on programming alone. 30, in memory of Randy Pausch, professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design, and author of the bestselling book "The Last Lecture." The ribbon-cutting and bridge-lighting ceremony will be held in front of the Purnell Center's main entrance. Pausch, who died last year of pancreatic cancer, encouraged computer scientists and artists to work and learn together, most notably by creating the interdisciplinary Building Virtual Worlds course and co-founding Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. After the board of trustees decided to name the bridge in Pausch's honor, architect Mack Scogin added design elements inspired by "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," the life-affirming 2007 lecture that won Pausch worldwide fame. It was based on the notion that when a group of penguins jumps into perilous waters, someone has to be first. At night, the sidewall will be backlit by programmable light-emitting diode (LED) technology from Philips Color Kinetics, a unit of Philips Electronics that originally was a spin-off of Carnegie Mellon.
Brick walls don't exist to prevent people from attaining something, but to give them a chance to show how badly they want it, he said.
The first, Groundhog, is a 1,600-pound, four-wheeled vehicle that uses lasers to determine distances to surrounding walls, floors and ceilings, cameras to visualize the space and software to build detailed maps from the data. Baker (CS'02) and Zachary Omohundro, a mechanical and electrical engineering graduate of Rice University.



Assembled from new parts, as well as pieces cannibalized from other robots, it stands on four thick-treaded wheels that can plow through muck, over fallen rocks and through several inches of standing water. Mulligan's owner, Sean Taylor, has a copy of the last map made by humans, 82 years ago, but he doesn't know how the mine might have changed in the intervening years. 27, co-instructor Thayer and a team of students and robotics specialists return to the mine early in the morning two days later with Groundhog. The 37-degree outdoor temperature affects even the team members inside the unheated trailer, who rub their hands and blow on them to keep their fingers limber enough to type keyboard commands. Whittaker's students and colleagues call it "the look": the way he leans forward so intently that, even though he is 6 foot 4, he casts his eyes upward at his audience. He is known for getting robots built in 100 days and then bringing them to places no one else wants to go: a desert resembling a lunar landscape, the mouth of a volcano, Three Mile Island. It cited his work developing robots designed to recover meteorites in Antarctica, waterproof the space shuttle's thermal protection system and assess damage at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. In one scene of the movie, he stands on the front steps of the Sipesville Fire Hall ready to comfort the arriving families of the trapped miners. Thomas Emerson's Entrepreneurship class in the Graduate School of Industrial Administration were figuring out how to turn the technology into a successful business.
The robots could do volumetric measurements so mine operators would know how much product they'd removed and how much remained, as well as how much cement to pour down a hole to stabilize an area and prevent mine subsidence. It could charge $9,000 a day for its services and would have expected revenues of $40 million a year after 10 years, Mor says.
After he graduates, he hopes to be involved on the business side of whatever mine-mapping company Carnegie Mellon spins off. Its role is to overcome the limitations of the traditional camera by using computational techniques to produce a richer, more vivid, perhaps more perceptually meaningful representation of our visual world.
We will focus primarily on character animation, but will also discuss animation of cloth and natural phenomena. This course will explore physically based simulation methods for computer animation of a wide variety of phenomena and materials including rigid and deformable solids, cloth, liquids, and explosions.
Efficient numerical methods for simulating a host of visually interesting physical phenomena will be covered, and discussed in the context of both interactive and offline simulation.
It will cover major aspects of digital image generation: geometric modeling, computer animation, and rendering.
The goal is to encourage the ability to think critically and constructively about active research topics. We will explore systems that have been developed for both interactive and off-line animations using motion capture data, video data, and body scans. This course will survey state-of-the-art techniques, in the industry and academia, to capture, model, and analyze human motion. The aim of this reading and project-based course is to examine key ideas, trends, and challenges associated with the design of architectures and systems responsible for efficiently executing these workloads. The goal is to teach a broad swath of techniques—from particle systems to human animation—while learning some math, working on fun projects, and practicing quick problem solving and public presentation skills. We will explore both the mathematical techniques behind these systems and techniques for evaluating them. We will focus on optimization approaches to generating realistic motion for humanlike characters and cover research results in computer graphics and biomechanics. Why is understanding the visual world, while so effortless for humans, so excruciatingly difficult for computers?
The course presents a journey through the fascinating five hundered year history of "camera-making" from the early 1500's "camera obscura" through the advent of film and lenses, to today's mirror-based and solid state devices (CCD, CMOS).
The central focus will be on representation of visual data, rather than on fancy learning techniques.
For a long time, artists, scientists and photographers have been fascinated by these effects, and have focused their attention on capturing and understanding these phenomena. Our aim is to create high-quality courses and contribute original research to improve learning and transform higher education. At the same time, students gain insight into the practical issues of building and maintaining systems by participating in intensive project-oriented courses. For instance, Pausch talked in his book about crayons and his partiality to black and white ones, so the light show begins in darkness and fades up to white before the bridge starts to change colors based on the favorites of Pausch, his wife and children.
In addition to providing needed classroom, laboratory and office space for the school, the buildings are designed to serve as a crossroads, providing new routes from the center of campus to the west campus quad and vice versa. Throughout the fall semester, Ling and Whittaker's other undergraduate and graduate students keep a frantic pace to create robots designed to do what has never been done before: explore abandoned mines whose dangers place them off limits to humans and make both 2-D and 3-D maps of what's inside. For the students signing up for the course, it was as if, in 1902, a year before the first flight, they had registered for a class in which they were expected to build and fly their own airplane.
The second, Ferret, is a tubular device that can be lowered through a borehole into a mine opening.
He asks if they're ready to go into a mine with Groundhog, so he can show a live video feed to his audience of what the robot can do. Whittaker has a good prospect at Burgettstown, 30 miles away, which he plans to check out the next day. Until Red Whittaker calls him about sending Groundhog into the mine, its interior seems destined to remain a mystery.
Chris Baker's father, general contractor Randy Baker, drives the truck pulling the trailer that holds Groundhog. The outside crew is getting soaked, and so is many thousands of dollars worth of equipment. With the show in Charleston over, the team can wait for them to recharge before using the arrow and home keys to coax the robot out of the mine.
This gaze of earnestness and supplication is one that has spurred many students to accomplish more than they thought possible.
Nancy Mosser Casting in Pittsburgh called Macerelli, who has snagged a few previous film roles, to offer him a part in the television movie portraying the disaster.
Mining companies could recoup their investment by using the robots' findings to mine more material. Students will be introduced to numerical methods, physical models, data structures, and theoretical results which form the building blocks of these methods. The course should be appropriate for graduate students in all areas and for advanced undergraduates. The topics to be covered include: motion editing, retargeting, motion graphs, statistical motion synthesis, interfaces, skinning and modeling of deformable shapes for human animation. The course will be a mix between lectures and seminar-style paper reading of recent research into human motion modeling and analysis. The topics to be covered include: control, motion graphs, statistical motion synthesis, motion blending, and optimization.


The course includes a significant hands-on component where students learn how to use the sensors and understand, model and deal with the uncertainty (noise) in their measurements. We will be looking at all stages of visual processing, from low-level (color, texture, local patches) all the way to high-level (object recognition, general image understanding).
As computing is a discipline with strong links to many fields, this provides students with unparalleled flexibility to pursue allied (or non-allied) interests. Due to the tremendous number of ongoing research projects within the School, many students obtain part-time or summer jobs, or receive independent study credit, working on research while pursuing their undergraduate degree.
Other themes include watery imagery to suggest penguins jumping into water and, in reference to Pausch's dreams regarding Star Trek and weightlessness, a rocket launch and space panorama. Whittaker (E'75, '79) settled on the purpose of his Mobile Robot Development course just 10 minutes before he announced it last August. A laser scanner at the base of the robot "looks around" the open space, maps it and calculates its volume.
His says, simply, "Red." Traces of the color that earned him that nickname are in his eyebrows, but his beard is grizzled.
Sensing hesitance, he has one of them read aloud from the abstract he just submitted to the conference organizers.
But it's not entirely explosion-proof because "we can't exactly put the lasers themselves, our primary mapping sensors, inside a steel box and have them be useful," Baker says. Caught up in Whittaker's enthusiasm, Taylor delays coal excavation over the Florence mine and pumps water out of it to accommodate Groundhog. Also joining the students is Red Whittaker's brother, Chuck Whittaker, who passes out boots, warm jackets and hard hats.
Teza performs some last-minute surgery, soldering two cables together, and Groundhog drives down the ramp out of the trailer, approaching the mouth of the mine. Montemerlo (E'97), who is not in Whittaker's class, runs the mapping software on an adjacent computer. The course also includes a brief overview of story-boarding, scene composition, and lighting. To gain hands-on experience, students will implement basic simulators for several phenomena.
The course evaluation will be project-based, in which students will capture their own body and face motion, and build projects around the data they collect individually and as a group. While the first half of the course deals with conventional "single viewpoint" or "perspective" cameras, the second half of the course covers much more recent "multi-viewpoint" or "multi-perspective" cameras that includes a host of lenses and mirrors. The first half of the course focuses on the physical fundamentals of visual appearance, while the second half of the course focuses on algorithms and applications in a variety of fields such as computer vision, graphics and remote sensing and technologies such as underwater and aerial imaging. The 15-minute lighting sequence, which will be initiated at Friday night's ceremony, will repeat in a continuous loop. Weighing on his mind was last summer's Quecreek mine disaster, in which nine Pennsylvania miners were trapped underground for more than three days after they accidentally breached a neighboring mine, unleashing a flood of water.
Ferret produced 3-D maps of four voids under a residential street in Kansas City, Kan., in January. His students marvel that he can be right there with them as they work through the night, after having kept up that pace for decades. Two sensors on the robot are designed to detect dangerous gases like methane that could cause an explosion. Remaining inside the trailer are the computers that will display the maps and images Groundhog sends back from its journey, the same visuals that will be exhibited at the conference in Charleston before and during Whittaker's talk.
As the rain continues, they worry that the water running off into the mine will get so deep Groundhog will not be able to go far without imperiling its $3,000 lasers. In this seminar course, through lectures, paper presentations, and projects, we will explore a number of familiar yet mysterious perceptual phenomena that involve color, illumination and shadows, material and object appearance, scenes, movement etc., both in terms of understanding (computer vision) as well as modeling (computer graphics).
The course will have an emphasis on using large amounts of real data (images, video, textual annotations, other meta-data).
This course is an initial attempt to unify concepts usually learnt in physical sciences and their application in imaging sciences. The third robot, Helix, which was built in a follow-up course this spring, combines the capabilities of Groundhog and Ferret. He's exhausted, but if he didn't love the work, "then no one could force me to put in the kind of hours I'm putting in." Neither graduate student interprets Whittaker's reassurance, "Win or lose, it's OK," as an escape clause. The maps Groundhog is generating reveal the height of the roof, where the mine passage narrows and widens, the location of intersections, a small room off the first crosscut and a timber that appears to have fallen from the roof. Omohundro rigs up the garbage bags so they can be dragged off Groundhog at the last moment, just before it enters the mine.
How do we design control algorithms for dexterous manipulation in the presence of uncertainty? We will also discuss the difficult issue of what is the right choice of training data and how can it be acquired. The course will also include a photography competition in addition to analytical and practical assignments. If there had been more accurate maps of the neighboring mine, the crisis might have been avoided. After being lowered into a mine through a borehole, Helix drives around to explore and map the space, then positions itself to be retrieved by hook through the borehole. As a final touch, he wipes the raindrops from the robot's laser scanners and camera lenses with toilet paper. This hands-on emphasis will be reflected in the programming assignments, in which students will have the opportunity to acquire their own images of indoor and outdoor scenes and develop the image analysis and synthesis tools needed to render and view the scenes on the computer.
What can we learn from human manipulation performance to improve robotic manipulation capability?
Whittaker works his students hard, bolstering them with expressions of faith in their talent. Groundhog's rear camera captures a video shot of three students standing outside the mine holding tethers attached to the robot. The tethers are a precaution so the robot can be hauled out if it gets stuck, since no one would dare go in after it. They have 40 minutes to fill, and Baker is worried that Groundhog's batteries may run down by then. Students will be asked to present one or two short research papers of their own and to design and carry out a final project.



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