26 June 2012: Dr Lincoln Wallen (Dream Works Animation SKG)

Title: Creating Worlds, bit by bit

By Dr Lincoln Wallen (Head of Animation Technology, Dream Works Animation SKG)

Lincoln Wallen

Abstract: Whereas the industry and commerce of the 20th Century was built on a foundation of continuum mathematics and analog engineering, the high-margin products and services of the 21st Century rest on a foundation of discrete mathematics and digital engineering. Nowhere is this more evident than in entertainment where photography, music making and visual art have moved decisively to digital platforms for both creation and consumption. Animated movies and videogames represent the pinnacle of this trend, where a product is authored and refined entirely within the digital medium, and then consumed by tens of millions of people worldwide through digital channels on computing devices. This talk will outline some of the challenges inherent in digital productions. Starting from issues of scale: one movie can contain half a billion digital files; to issues of representation: how to describe, in a compact way, every object in a scene at every instant in time it is seen; to issues of computation: how to parallelize deeply dependent computations. These insights give a glimpse into the industries of the future: heavy on design and simulation, and supporting fast iteration on cloud-based super-computers. They also reflect on how processes and techniques developed in universities to understand fundamental problems of matter or knowledge, become the building blocks of future industries.

Dr Lincoln Wallen is Head of Research and Development at Dreamworks Animation. He was formerly CTO at Electronic Arts Mobile where he was instrumental in shaping EA's approach to the mobile business, which saw EA deliver a strong portfolio of mass market mobile games, as well as games delivering a next-generation consumer experience. Prior to joining EA, Lincoln was with Criterion Software and MathEngine. His early career involved 20 years of professional IT and mathematics research, including two years as BP Venture Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, and latterly as a Reader in Computer Science at the University of Oxford.

Title: Creating Worlds, bit by bit

Tuesday, 26th June, 2012

4.00pm

Lecture Theatre F.21 (Psychology Building 7 George Square Edinburgh EH8 9JZ)

Followed by a Reception in the Informatics Forum next door:

Mini Forum 2, 4th Floor Informatics Forum (10 Crichton Street Edinburgh EH8 9AB)

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