CS 658 Computer Generated Natural Phenomena

Tuesday, Thursday 3:00 to 4:15 in 373 MARB

Class on 3/20 will be in study room 2520 in the HBLL.

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In this class, you will learn how to design computer algorithms which mimic natural phenomena. You will learn this by studying a few classic algorithms, studying a few recent promising algorithms and by designing your own algorithms. The study of natural phenomena is supposed to fun and exciting. The class should change the way you appreciate and look at nature—both in the real world and in film.

There are two reasons why you should learn to mimic nature with algorithms. First, it will improve your ability to design algorithms which solve problems in other application domains. Second, it will improve your ability to design natural phenomena algorithms. Algorithms that mimic natural phenomena are useful in a wide variety of fields including CG animation, games, forestry, architecture, botany and other sciences.


Three years after taking CS 658, you should still…

  • Know a few enduring algorithms based on solid science and solid algorithmics which mimic natural phenomena. These include L-systems, midpoint displacement and other fractal methods.
  • Understand that complex but non-random processes can be decomposed into computer algorithms by correctly recombining fundamental building blocks.
  • Know that for users of computer graphics technology, in the end, it’s all about appearance. The process that gets the final image isn’t as important to end users as the final image.
  • Have a deeper respect for what you see in nature.


Professor: Michael Jones, Department of CS, BYU, 801 422-2217, ude.uyb.sc|senoj#ude.uyb.sc|senoj, 3328 TMCB
Office Hours: Mostly by appointment (I actually prefer hours by appointment, but feel free to come during posted hours as well) and Monday 2pm-3pm, Tuesday 9 am – 10 am, Wednesday 11 am – noon.

TA: Jie Long (PhD Student), Department of CS, BYU, 3325 TMCB
Office Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri : 1:00 - 3:00, Tue, Thurs: 10:00 - 11:00


Webpage: http://cs658.wikidot.com/ and Blackboard for grades.
Textbook: Digital Design of Nature by Oliver Duessen published by Springer. Journal and conference papers as assigned in class.

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