Dr. Alan Blackwell
Interdisciplinary Design Research for Interactive Technology
Alan Blackwell is Reader in Interdisciplinary Design at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, one of the oldest Computer Science departments in the world (but a relatively young department in Cambridge, which celebrates its 800th anniversary this year).
Alan is an alumnus of Auckland, Massey and Victoria Universities. He spent 12 years as a professional engineer and product designer, partly in New Zealand, before taking a PhD at the Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge.
He now teaches software design and human-computer interaction,
and carries out research in design and HCI, especially related to new kinds of graphical, tangible and artistic interaction. He is author of over 100 academic papers, has a number of patents, consults for a wide range of large and small companies, and is a founding director of the Crucible network for research in interdisciplinary design.
Why academic research matters to Weta Digital
J.P. Lewis is a research programmer at Weta Digital, specializing in computer vision and statistical learning techniques applied to film effects.
Prior to joining Weta he worked at academic and industrial research labs including the University of Southern California and Stanford University, as well as in the film industry at Industrial Light and Magic, Disney's Secret Lab (where he was Director of Research and Development), and ESC. He has credits on films including Forest Gump and The Matrix Reloaded.
John has published research in journals and conferences including ACM SIGGRAPH, Transactions on Graphics, I3D, Sandbox, IEEE CG&A, TVCG, and others.
His algorithms have been adopted in Matlab and commercial graphics software packages, and his Pose-Space Deformation algorithm is the subject of several industry implementations.
He was also co-developer of the image-domain skin subsurface approach that has been further developed by Nvidia and ATI and is appearing in upcoming games titles.
John spends a portion of his time at Weta fostering collaborations with academic researchers in New Zealand and abroad. Starting in February, John will also be teaching part time in the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology at Massey.
Assoc. Prof. Poul Nielsen
The Physiome Project: a framework for understanding ourselves through computational modelling
Poul Nielsen is an Associate Professor at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and Department of Engineering Science at the University of Auckland. His research interest in bioengineering began with his PhD, designing software to characterise the geometry and architecture of the heart for individual-specific models of cardiac electromechanics. As a postdoctoral fellow at the McGill University Bioinstrumentation Laboratory (now at MIT), this interest widened to biomedical instrumentation design and construction.
His research interests focus on computational, instrumentation, and experimental aspects of model-based measurement and analysis of biological systems. He directs groups developing models of skin, breast, and childbirth. He is also the leader of the CellML project, an open international effort to encode mathematical models of biological systems using a high-level XML-based description language.