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AISB opportunities Bulletin Item

4 Vacancies PhD students Game & Media Technology, Utrecht

       4 Vacancies PhD students Game & Media Technology

The department of Information and Computing Sciences of Utrecht University
is looking for 4 PhD-students for the project "GATE" (Game Research for Training
and Entertainment).

At the Department of Information and Computing Sciences of Utrecht University
there are four openings for PhD students for 4 years within the Game Research
for Training and Entertainment (GATE) project.
Position 1: Automatic world generation based on real data
Building virtual worlds from real data such as panorama images is still a very
labor intensive work, error prone, slow, and expensive. Therefore, the results
is often small-scale, of low resolution, and not accurate. Our objectives are to
research new algorithms to build virtual worlds automatically and from multiple
data sources in order to alleviate these problems. From the various data sources
we will identify salient points and landmark objects. Then we will find a
correspondence between them, derive the transformation to put the data in a
common coordinate frame, merge the data, and construct the final virtual world.
The envisioned results are methods that build virtual worlds fast and
accurately. In this way, the quality of training people, mission planning,
contingency planning, and decision making can be improved.
This research is performed in collaboration with TNO Defence, Security and Safety.

Position 2: Modeling planning behavior
Computer games are inhabited by virtual characters. Such characters move around
in the virtual world to perform certain actions. So an important task of virtual
characters is to plan their paths to a required destination. Such a path must be
natural. A natural path can be defined as a path that would be taken in the real
world, or that is at least convincing to a viewer. A natural path will depend on
the environment, the task of the character, its knowledge of the world, the
presence and motion of other entities, and possibly its emotional state. The
goal of this project is to develop path planning algorithms that lead to natural
paths, while they put only a small load on the processor. To this end we will
employ our motion capture system to record natural motion and combine this with
algorithmic planning techniques.

Position 3: Navigation and manipulation
One of the research objectives within GATE addresses navigation and manipulation
tasks within virtual environments. Usually the interface with the virtual
environment is established by controlling an avatar represented by an animated
virtual character. It is not an easy task to find an animation model that is
capable of handling both manipulation and navigation tasks and that can
dynamically switch between them. An example of such behaviour is to pick up an
object from a table while waking past it, or walking toward a door and opening
it, without an unnatural transition between walking (navigation) and
manipulating the object. The goal of the intended research is to address such
types of problems, by using motion capture and motion synthesis techniques,
ultimately resulting in natural animation behaviour in real-time.

Position 4: Detecting, interpreting and affecting user behavior
In many applications, computer vision based analysis motion, gestures, and
facial expressions of groups of people is desired. Current techniques are still
limited to a single person, and to fixed position in from of a camera. The
ability to robustly track persons in room opens many new applications. The
objectives of this project are to develop fast and robust algorithms that can
detect, track, and model accurately and robustly individual persons in the real
3D world. We also want to recognize gestures and motion of individuals, to
identify the interaction between persons such as looking or gesturing at each
other, and to design interaction between humans and computer systems. For all
these techniques we will first choose application domains, in order to identify
the needs, and to evaluate the methods against the requirements.
This research is performed in collaboration with Technical University Delft.

The GATE (Game Research for Training and Entertainment) project aims to set
up the leading edge research center in Europe (and world-wide) that advances the
state-of-the-art in gaming and simulation with strong ties to production
companies and users of gaming and simulation. The goal of the center is to
create technology for highly effective entertainment, learning and training

We ask
MSc degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, or any other relevant discipline.
Knowledge and experience in programming (C++), algorithms and data structures,
pattern recognition, computer vision.

More information about salary and how to apply can be found at
Closing date: February 28, 2007