Assignment #3 - light and shadow

Due Tuesday, February 27 (in class)

CS 99D - The Science of Art
Winter Quarter, 2001
Marc Levoy
Handout #6

Your third assignment is to write a 3-4 page double-spaced paper on one of the topics listed in the first section below. Alternatively, you may do one of the projects listed in the second section. You may also choose another topic or project if you clear it with me in advance. The format and rules for this assignment are the same as in the first one. Don't forget to cite your sources using footnotes and/or a list of references, as appropriate.

Writing projects

Some non-writing projects

The David Disk: an independent study (or summer) project

An important problem related to archiving digitized cultural artifacts is insuring longevity for the bits. This is a hard problem, and although many solutions have been proposed, none have yet proven practical.

In lieu of a practical solution, I have been exploring the radical alternative of manufacturing an engraved disk that contains a microscopic but optically readable numerical representation of our three-dimensional computer model of Michelangelo's David. Once designed, multiple copies of the disk would be manufactured and deposited with selected cultural institutions for safekeeping. By coincidence, the year 2004 is the 500th anniversary of the carving of the David, and there will be special exhibitions about the statue at museums around the world. It's a convenient deadline for finishing our disk.

The goal of this project is to create a "backup" of Michelangelo's David that will last 10,000 years. Like the plaque Carl Sagan made for the Pioneer spacecraft, designing an artifact that can communicate over such a gulf of time is an interesting undertaking. How can we convey to a future human civilization the idea of a triangle mesh? Or the convention of describing triangles using three-dimensional cartesian coordinates? What numerical system should we use to denote these coordinates? What graphical conventions should we employ in writing these numbers?

Is anybody interested in helping?
Copyright © 2001 Marc Levoy
Last update: March 7, 2001 03:17:25 AM