Broad Area Colloquium For AI-Geometry-Graphics-Robotics-Vision

A Search Engine for 3D Models

Thomas Funkhouser
Department of Computer Science
Princeton University

Monday, October 21, 2002, 4:15PM
TCSeq 200


As the number of 3D models available on the Web grows, there is an increasing need for a search engine to help people find them (e.g., a Google for 3D models). Unfortunately, traditional text-based search techniques are not always effective for 3D data. In this talk, we investigate new shape-based search methods. A key challenge is to find a computational representation of shape (a "shape descriptor") that is concise, robust, quick to compute, efficient to match, and discriminating between similar and dissimilar shapes. In this talk, I will describe shape descriptors designed for computer graphics models commonly found on the Web (i.e., they may contain arbitrary degeneracies and alignments). We have experimented with them in a Web-based search engine that allows users to query for 3D models based on similarities to 3D sketches, 3D models, 2D sketches, and/or text keywords. We find our best shape matching methods provide better precision-recall performance than related approaches and are fast enough to return query results from a repository of 20,000 polygonal models in under a second. You can try them out at:

About the Speaker

Thomas Funkhouser is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University. Previously, he was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories. His current research interests include interactive computer graphics, computational geometry, distributed systems, and shape analysis. He received a B.S. in biological sciences from Stanford University in 1983, a M.S. in computer science from UCLA in 1989, and a PhD in computer science from UC Berkeley in 1993.

Back to the Colloquium Page