The online literary journal Wild River Review features computer scientist David Dobkin.

In the interview with Joy Stocke, Dobkin, who is a professor and dean of faculty at Princeton, explains some of the challenges behind trying to develop a 3-D version of Google.

“Imagine that we’re fifty years forward, which is probably really ten years forward, and we’re teenagers, and we want to build our avatars (computer images of ourselves and our world) for a game we’re playing,” Dobkin said. “And our avatar consists of building a model of a room so we need to find a chair somewhere. How do we tell Google that we want to look for a chair? We’ve already crawled the Web and have gotten somewhere between thirty and fifty thousand models of chairs.

“How do we know that the image we’ve pulled up is a chair rather than an airplane? And when we find one chair, how do we find other chairs? We all know how to type, so typing in the word chair is easy. The problem on the front end is that constructing a picture of a three-dimensional rendering of a chair is not so easy. So, if we type in the word chair we would get pictures of chairs, some of them beach chairs, some of them desk chairs.”

Sometimes, he notes, what you will turn up is not a chair at all but rather a person with the title of chairman.

Dobkin also explores fractals, ponders the language of nature, and elaborates on his world-class collection of snow domes.

You can read the full interview of Dobkin here. It is part of a series highlighting the scientists and artists who collaborated to create works for the late, lamented Quark Park.

In a previous issue of Wild River, Stocke interviews sculptor Jonathan Shor about the paleo-techno lithophone he created with Princeton computer scientist Perry Cook for Quark Park.