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Bloggers are agog with admiration for Photosynth, the software that Blaise Aguera y Arcas showed off at the TED conference this spring and which Microsoft Live Labs calls “a monumental piece of software capable of assembling static photos into a synergy of zoomable, navigatable spaces.”

In a video of the demo, which TED recently posted, Blaise Aguera y Arcas explains Photosynth’s 3-D computational reconstruction of Notre Dame cathedral, assembled from photos of the Paris landmark that had been posted to Flickr by hundreds of different people. Aguera y Arcas says that this emergent software will yield “immensely rich virtual models of every interesting part of the Earth, collected not just from overhead flights and satellites and so on but from the collective memory” — i.e., myriad random snapshots taken by ordinary people.

The Long Zoom says it blows the doors off the concept of 2-D image-place connections. The demo has got Hong Kong Ham’s quill quivering. And Ticklebooth says the demo will rock your world.

Aguera y Arcas was a doctoral student at Princeton under wavelet innovator Ingrid Daubechies in the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics. He elaborates on her influences in this recent post to Channel 9 (scroll down — it’s the last item on the page).

You can read a lovely essay about Daubechies’ early life influences. She happens to be married to Robert Calderbank, the director of PACM and a professor of electrical engineering at Princeton who is a former vice president for research at Bell Labs and the co-inventor of space-time codes that improve the reliability of wireless communication.

Princeton is quite an incubator of digital graphics innovation. Fei-Fei Li recently brought her Vision Lab to Princeton. You can hear Adam Finkelstein explain in this podcast how difficult — yet important — it is to make an imperfect image with a computer. Szymon Rusinkiewicz and colleagues explore surface textures in this upcoming SIGGRAPH paper (you will never be able to see Swiss chard in the same light again).

Speaking of fascinating visualizations, check out Akamai’s new “weather map” of the Internet. Akamai (co-founded by Princeton Engineering graduate Tom Leighton) slices web weather in three ways: security, speed, and traffic. At the moment, Venezuela is being buffeted by a bodacious security storm while the Internet skies in France appear fair and breezy.

Image: “Multiscale Shape and Detail Enhancement from Multi-light Image Collections

ACM Transactions on Graphics,” (Proc. SIGGRAPH), August 2007, Raanan Fattal, Maneesh Agrawala, Szymon Rusinkiewicz

 
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