Sanders Series Lecture

David Salesin:
Observations On Doing Research and On Creating Sublime User Experiences

2016-03-08 12:30 at MaRS Auditorium

In this talk I will draw upon my own experiences as a computer graphics researcher and as a tango dancer to provide a very personal perspective on how research works, and on how to create sublime user experiences.


Dr. Salesin leads the Adobe Creative Technologies Lab, which he founded when he joined Adobe Systems in 2005. I am also an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he has been on the faculty since 1992. He received my Sc.B. from Brown University in 1983, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1991. From 1983-87, I worked at Lucasfilm and Pixar, where I contributed computer animation for the Academy Award-winning short film, “Tin Toy,” and the feature-length film, Young Sherlock Holmes. I spent the 1991-92 year as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Program of Computer Graphics at Cornell University. In 1996, I co-founded two companies, where I served as Chief Scientist: Inklination and Numinous Technologies. When the latter was acquired by Microsoft in 1999, I worked as a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research until 2005, while remaining on the UW faculty. Over the years, I have also worked as an intern or consultant at a number of production studios and research labs, including Sogitec Audiovisuel in (Paris), DEC Systems Research Center, DEC Paris Research Lab, Aldus (now part of Adobe), Xerox PARC, and Broderbund.

Dr. Salesin received an NSF Young Investigator award in 1993; an ONR Young Investigator Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and an NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow Award in 1995; the University of Washington Award for Outstanding Faculty Achievement in the College of Engineering in 1996; the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award in 1997; The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and theCouncil for the Advancement and Support of Education 1998-1999 Washington Professor of the Year Award in 1998; and the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award in 2000. He was named a Guest Professor of Zhejiang University and an ACM Fellow in 2002.

His research interests are in computer graphics and include digital photography and video, automatic design & presentation of information, non-photorealistic rendering, visualization, image-based rendering, digital typography, and color. Dr. Salesin’s outside interests include Argentine tango, photography, Aikido (in which I hold a black belt), printmaking, piano, saxophone, flying, traveling, cooking, old films, backpacking, skiing, mountain biking, and chocolate.