Saturday, April 30, 2011

Left Brain / Right Brain

Yesterday I saw a presentation by Donald P. Greenberg entitled "Left Brain / Right Brain: round two". Quite fascinating. Apart from a computer graphics history lesson (the image to the right shows prof. Greenberg in front of a slide depicting a Lunar Module Docking simulation from 1967) he had a lot to say about creativity versus rationality and the importance of taking Computer Science courses as an artist and to take art classes as an engineer. And how to stimulate faculty working across department and school lines in a interdisciplinary manner.

After the talk he stayed to answer questions from a group of NYIT students (who are taking computer graphics with the event organizer Yuko Oda) and there was some fascinating discussion on whether computers can be creative, and if they need to be self-aware to achieve this. One of the more practical points Prof. Greenberg made that I fully support is that it really helps students to understand what goes on behind the interface of a computer program: you have to "...know what is behind the software so you are not constrained by what you think the software can do".

As representative of the local ACM SIGGRAPH chapter, which co-sponsored the event, I had the privilege to have lunch with Prof. Greenberg and Prof Oda. He is remarkably fit for his age, and extremely sharp. A very inpirational visit to the City!

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