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Michael Gleicher
Department of Computer Sciences
University of Wisconsin, Madison
1210 West Dayton St.
Madison, WI 53706
Office: 6385 Computer Sciences Building
Phone: 608-263-2874, Fax: 608-262-9777

I am on sabbatical for 2013-2014

I am a professor working in Computer Graphics and related areas (visualization, multimedia, animation, vision, ...). A brief biography will tell you how I got here. You can see a reasonably current CV, but you probably are looking for select publications (papers, videos, talks by project), or a more complete list of papers, talks, or videos in date order. I'l try to keep a list of project descriptions.

Sabbatical 2013-2014

For the 2013-2014 academic year, (roughly August 2013 through July 2014) I am on sabbatical. I will be going to Grenoble (France) in late August.

On this page: things I'm working on, teaching, recent papers.

Here is my most recent attempt at summarizing my research interests:

How can we use our understanding of human perception and artistic traditions to improve our tools for communicating and comprehending?

Because I am on sabbatical I will no longer do External (Ph.D. Minor) Advising. I am not on UGAC anymore, so I cannot officially do undergraduate advising.

I have some pages with various Advice I generally give to students. This includes the format for status reports, what I'd like to see in Prelims and Theses, my grad school FAQ, but my advice on how to give a talk is still elsewhere.

You might be interested in my grad school FAQ. Come and talk to me if you're interested in computer graphics or related topics.

If you're interested in joining our group, come talk to me! If you aren't a student at Wisconsin yet, please look at my grad school FAQ, particularly the last few questions.

Some things that I am working on these days

Two new threads in my work are applying machine learning techniques to visualization problems to help people build "comprehensible models" and perceptually-inspired robotics (that is, making robots move in ways that are easier for people to understand when they watch them).

Visualizing Comparisons
Increasingly, visualization needs to help people make comparisons between things in increasingly large data sets. In the past, visualization has focused on helping with particular types of objects: volumes, graphs, molecules, etc. In contast, the Visual Comparisons project tries to understand the general principles that apply no matter what is being compared. We are working with several domain collaborators to explore case studies of comparison to inform the general principles.
Current domain collaborations include Educational Science (comparing epistemic frames), Genetics (comparing whole genome alignments), Structural biology (protein shapes and motions), Literary Scholarship (statistical analysis of text corpora), and Virology (understanding virus evolution). We also collaborate with perception experts to better understand the mechanisms in interpreting images.
Example Projects: Splatterplots, Tagged Text Collections, Whole Genome Sequence Overviews, Comparing Epistemic Frames, Visualizing Virus Evolution, Explaining High-Dimensional Groups

Animating Communicative Characters
We are working on better ways to synthesize human motions to make animated characters that are better able to communicate. Generally, we focus on trying to make use of collections of examples (such as motion capture) to build models that allow us to generate novel movements.
Example Projects: Simulating Gaze Behaviors, Parametric Motion Controllers

Visualizing English Print
Working with Humanities scholars (literary scholars, linguists, historians, ...) we seek to apply "computational thinking" to find new ways of understanding literature and the development of language. We are exploring ways to combine visualization and statistical analytics to help with humanist understanding, and allow scholarship of large text collections. We are also seeing how the ideas of humanist scholarship can be applied in computer science.
Example Projects: TextDNA, CorpusSeperator, High-Dimensional Explanations

Abstracting Molecular Surfaces and Motion
The shapes and motions of large molecules (Proteins) are very

important, but very complicated. We are trying to find concise ways to describe them to make it easier to look at them visually, as well as to analyze them automatically. This includes novel visualization and collaboration tools, as well as automatic matching tools that work directly on the shape and physical property distributions.

Example projects: Molecular Surface Abstraction, Surface Descriptors, Depicting Molecular Flexibility, Multi-User Molecular Visualization

Re-thinking Photography and Videography
Digital photography (and videography) has changed the world: it is easy (and cheap) to take lots of pictures and video, to share them with others, and to change them. This means its easy to get lots of bad pictures: good pictures (and video) still takes work.

Our goal is to make it easier for people to have useable images and video. For example, we have developed methods for improving pictures and video as a post-process (e.g. removing shadows and stabilizing video). We have also worked on adapting imagery for use in new settings (e.g. image and video retargeting or automatic video editing) and making use of large image collections (e.g. intestingness detection or panorama finding). In the future, we hope to put these elements together to make systems that help people make effective use of large collections of images and videos.

Example projects: Warp-Based Video Stabilization, Re-Cinematography, 3D Stabilization, Image and Video Retargeting, Panorama finding
Other Stuff
I have a bad case of Academic Attention Defecit Disorder, so I am always interested in other things - especially if they involve pictures, geometry, or motion.


My teaching schedule used to be regular, but now it changes every semester. In Spring 2013 it will be .

The classes I teach:

  • Visualization: (as a special topics CS638/CS838). I taught this in the Spring of 2012. It's an experiment in teaching a broad class that serves a very wide range of students (most from outside CS). The experiments were successes, so I intend to do it again.
  • CS777: Computer Animation is a graduate level CS class for people with some graphics background. This taught was taught regularly in the past (2013, 2011,2006,2004, 2003).
  • CS679 Computer Games Technologies: this class is popular enough that we try to teach it regularly. I was able to teach it every year for the past few years (2012, 2011, 2010
  • Advanced Graphics: In the Spring of 2009, I taught an Advanced Graphics class.
  • CS559 Computer Graphics: I used to teach CS559 Computer Graphics each fall. This class is now being taught by others (I will return to it in 2014). You can find the web pages for the versions in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and if you're really curious, even older versions of the course page are still on the Graphics Group Courses Page.

You can find other information on graphics group classes on the Graphics Group Courses Page.

Selected Recent Publications

I try to keep the complete list available here. Here are some selected recent ones:

  • Eurographics '13: Stylized and Performative Gaze for Character Animation w/Pejsa and Mutlu
  • CHI '13: Quantity Estimation in Visualizations of Tagged Text w/Correll and Alexander
  • InfoVis (TVCG) '13: Perception of Average Value in Multiclass Scatterplots w/Correll, Franconeri, and Nothelfer
  • VAST (TVCG) '13: Explainers: Expert Explorations with Crafted Projections (award)
  • VR '13: Perceptual Calibration for Immersive Display Environments w/Ponto, Radwin and Shin (award)
  • IVA '13: Conversational Gaze Aversion for Virtual Agents w/ Andrist and Mutlu (award)
  • BMC Bioinformatics '12: Local functional descriptors for surface comparison based binding prediction w/ Cipriano and Phillips
  • VRST '12: ''Online Real-Time Presentation of Virtual Experiences for External Viewers w/ Ponto, Kohlman and Shin
  • CHI '12: Comparing Averages in Time Series Data w/Correll, Ablers and Franconeri''
  • CHI '12: Designing Effective Gaze Mechanisms for Virtual Agents w/Andrist, Pejsa, and Mutlu
  • VR '12: Effective Replays and Summarization of Virtual Experiences [- w/Ponto and Kohlmann ]
  • TVCG 12: Automatic Illustration of Molecular Flexibility w/Bryden and Phillips ''
  • InfoVis (TVCG) '11: Sequence Surveyor w/Albers and Dewey
  • BioVis '11: Visualizing Viral Population Dynamics [- w/Correll and others
  • ToG 11: Subspace Video Stabilization w/Liu and others
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Page last modified on February 23, 2014, at 11:29 AM