Summer Research

Our summer research applications for 2019 are open! See below for more information.

One of the reasons students attend Penn is for access to faculty and research opportunities, yet few undergraduates take advantage of this opportunity. While classroom experience is essential, so is the opportunity to create new knowledge while examining the unknown. The Digital Media Design program is closely related to the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation and the ViDi Center for Digital Visualization. Research projects are undertaken by heterogeneous teams of graduate and undergraduate students and visitors. Undergraduates who contribute in a substantial way become co-authors in publications. In the past few years, summer researchers in HMS and ViDi have had papers published in notable computer graphics academic conferences and journals.

From year to year the internship topics vary depending on funding, research needs, and student interests. The projects have overall faculty guidance, but students are expected to learn new software systems, do extensive programming, contribute to archival materials (software, documentation and written papers), and orally present their work to others. Posters and participation in department-wide research demonstrations is strongly encouraged.

Many of the participating undergraduate students from previous summers are recognized through authorship in published papers.

2019 Research Topics include:

Norman Badler

Spatialized Performance And Ceremonial Event Simulations: SPACES

SPACES is to be a parameterized, spatially and temporally situated, Augmented Reality simulation of large-scale public ceremonies. In pre-historic contexts these activities must be hypothesized from artifacts, architectural, and geophysical remains, documentary sources, and cultural context. SPACES should create plausible variations that may be both visually (qualitatively) and quantitatively assessed. This approach is fundamentally different from one-off “reconstructions”, as explorations of variations may be essential to determine which performance possibility is more compatible with evidence. In contemporary settings, SPACES could be used to design organized public parades and celebrations.

Although computerized crowd simulations exist, most effort has been directed toward low-level navigation, collision avoidance, and trajectory realism. “Higher-level” organization is left to user discretion, artistic decisions, or creative goals. Crowds are often behaviorally homogeneous with only vague overall purpose.

SPACES will center on AR participation in processional environments: what activities occur where, about how long they last, what objects agents carry, use, or play, sound and motion coordination, and interpersonal interactions. We will develop a user interface to control such parameters. SPACES will use Magic Leap AR through UnReal via Blueprint procedures.

The SPACES AR app will allow a user to embed herself as a crowd participant and active performer. AR requires highly realistic graphic environments, and responsive behaviors in the other characters to cement the sense of cultural presence: “the feeling of being and making sense there together.” What better way to experience the ethos of a bygone culture than by being embedded in its public ceremonial practices?

Chenfanfu Jiang

"Multi-physics" phenomena involves in the simulation of solids, fluids, through their different phases, scales and interactions. There is not a numerically perfect physics-based simulation scheme that is always suitable for all scenarios. We desire to hybrid strengths of different methods to enable animating complex material interactions. The summer projects will target at several aspects for multi-physics simulation, with a focus on the Material Point Method and Finite Element Method:

The student works with state-of-the-art solid/fluid C++ solvers and develops new features and experiments with research ideas. The student will also work with 3D software such as Houdini for modeling and rendering simulation geometry. C++ background and experience with some physics-based simulation is required. Research accomplishments lead to publications and collaborations with animation/visual effect industry on state-of-art simulation techniques.

Stephen Lane

Development of Augmented Reality Applications for Large Screen Displays

Interactive Authoring of Augmented Reality Task Content

Augmented Reality Enhancement of Medical Simulation and Training Applications

Positions are limited by available funding. Decisions and offer letters will be made approximately April 12, 2019.


Recent Publications Featuring Undergraduate Students


"Recreating Pre-Columbian life in the Baures region of the Bolivian Amazon."
C. Erickson, E. Al Yafei, J. Nadel, Y. Victor, I. Ogiriki and N. Badler.
Proc. 20th Symposium on Virtual and Augmented Reality (SVR), Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, 2018.

"Crowd simulation incorporating thermal environments and responsive behaviors."
L. Chen, C.R. Jung, S.R. Musse, M. Moneimne, C. Wang, R. Fruchter, V. Bazjanac, G. Chen and N.I. Badler.
Presence J., 26 (4), pp.436-452, Fall 2017.

"The Distribution of Carried Items in Urban Environments"
Elissa Wolf, Norman Badler.
Presence J., 2015.

"Planning Approaches to Constraint-Aware Navigation in Dynamic Environments"
Mubbasir Kapadia, Kai Ninomiya, Alexander Shoulson, Francisco Garcia, Norman Badler.
Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds, 26(2), 119-139, March 2015.

"Generating a Multiplicity of Policies for Agent Steering in Crowd Simulation"
Cory Boatright, Mubbasir Kapadia, Jennie Shapira, Norman Badler.
Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds, 26(5), 483-494, September 2015.

"ADAPT: The Agent Development and Prototyping Testbed"
Alexander Shoulson, Nathan Marshak, Mubbasir Kapadia, Norman Badler.
IEEE Trans. on Visualization and Computer Graphis 20(7), pp. 1035-1047, July 2014.

"Planning Approaches to Constraint-Aware Navigation in Dynamic Environments"
Mubbasir Kapadia, Kai Ninomiya, Alexander Shoulson, Francisco Garcia, Norman Badler.
Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds, 26(2), 119-139, March 2015.

"An Event-Centric Planning Approach for Dynamic Real-Time Narrative"
Alexander Shoulson, Mubbasir Kapadia, Norman I. Badler.
MIG '13 Proceedings of Motion on Games, 121-130, 2013.

"The Effect of Posture and Dynamics on the Perception of Emotion"
Aline Normoyle, Fannie Liu, Mubbasir Kapadia, Norman I. Badler, Sophie Jorg.
Symposium on Applied Perception, 2013.

"Pedestrian Anomaly Detection Using Context-Sensitive Crowd Simulation"
Cory Boatright, Mubbasir Kapadia, Jennie Shapira, Norman I. Badler.
First International Workshop on Pattern Recognition and Crowd Analysis, November 2012.

"Animating Synthetic Dyadic Conversations With Variations Based on Context and Agent Attributes"
Libo Sun, Alexander Shoulson, Pengfei Huang, Nicole Nelson, Wenhu Qin, Ani Nenkova, Norman I. Badler.
Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds J., 2012.

"A Data-Driven Appearance Model for Human Fatigue"
Joseph T. Kider Jr, Kaitlin Pollock, Alla Safonova.
ACM/Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation, 2011.

"Parameterizing Behavior Trees"
Alexander Shoulson, Francisco Garcia, Matthew Jones, Robert Mead, Norman I. Badler.
4th International Conference on Motion in Games, November 2011.

"Human Model Reaching, Grasping, Looking and Sitting Using Smart Objects"
Damian Slonneger, Matthew Croop, Jeremy Cytryn, Joseph T. Kider,Jr., Richard Rabbitz, Eric Halpern, Norman I. Badler.
International Symposium on Digital Human Modeling, 2011.

"Fruit Senescence and Decay Simulation"
Joseph T. Kider, Jr., Samantha Raja, Norman I. Badler.
Eurographics, 2011.

"CRAM It! A Comparison of Virtual, Live-Action and Written Training Systems for Preparing Personnel to
Work in Hazardous Environments"

Catherine Stocker, Benjamin Sunshine-Hill, John Drake, Ian Perera, Joseph T. Kider Jr., Norman I. Badler.
Proc. IEEE Virtual Reality, 2011.

See all CG@Penn publications here .

Sample Posters from Summer Research