Computer Graphics

Of all areas of computer science research, none have had more of an immediate impact on multimedia than computer graphics. This sub-field is distinctly different than computational science in that it focuses on the appearance of realistic details, instead of computing those details precisely. Where a computational scientist might spend years writing software that runs on the fastest computers known to man to simulate climate, the computer graphics researcher might apply machine learning to create fluid simulations that look good enough to the untrained eye. In the end, the computational scientist will have a plot and the computer graphics researcher will have a beautifully rendered simulation.

Though I may have painted computer graphics to be a bit hand-wavey, that could not be further from the truth! Instead, I would argue that this field of research provides the closest approximation to realistic visualizations that desktop hardware can currently support. Many art and video game studios are interested in telling a complete story via computational media, and this simply would not be possible without the rigorous efforts of researchers from around the world. This is why Pixar hires researchers and will actively publish their findings after their movies are released.

Though the boundary between computer science research fields is a bit vague, for the purposes of the Algorithm Archive, we will broadly classify computer graphics as anything with direct applications to images or fields that can be represented as images. Convolutions, for example, would not be considered part of computer graphics because they are used widely in all areas of computer science research; however, Canny edge detection will be. We will also be covering a wide range of applications that are used for rendering high-resolution graphics and computational art.

As with all sections to the Algorithm Archive, this is a work in progress and subject to change, so feel free to let me know what you think!

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