Synthetic Characters, MIT Media Lab

Synthetic Characters
Duncan the Highland Terrier
Duncan the Highland Terrier

The Synthetic Characters group at the MIT Media Lab, led by Dr Bruce Blumberg, contributed research and development toward an extensible architecture for the brains of virtual creatures.

I was a graduate student in Dr Blumberg’s group from 1999-2001. Key influencers of the group’s work included Dr Rodney Brooks (founder of iRobot), Dr Marvin Minsky (artificial intelligence pioneer), and Dr Randy Gallistel (eminent ethologist).

MIT Graduate Thesis

Goatzilla looming large
Goatzilla looms large over the sheep and Shep

My thesis, “It’s About Time: Temporal Representations for Synthetic Characters,” contributed a new ethologically-inspired model for predictive learning in lifelike virtual creatures. The thesis is available online through my MIT alumni site.

A summary of the key contributions from the thesis was published in the proceedings from the International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS) in 2002.

“Waiting for Goatzilla,” the tongue-in-cheek video that accompanied my thesis, is now on YouTube.

For More Information

Please visit my Alumni Page at the MIT Media Lab. (Other papers and resources are linked through there.)