Story in the School of Engineering
John Judnich '13
A computer science and engineering major changes the landscape of 3D graphics.
John Judnich, a junior who is majoring in computer science and engineering, has had a goal in mind for some time.
"I want to create an entire 3D world for video games with billions of stars, planets and nebulae," Judnich says. "where the user can explore all that not just from afar, but fly into a planet and see mountain ranges, fog, and sunsets...entire cites of homes and buildings and forests that can be experienced from the ground level."
While attempting to create his galaxies, Judnich found computers were too slow to create the millions of trees and other objects that he envisioned, so he took it upon himself to solve the problem and reinvented an algorithm for an existing technique used for drawing games and simulations.
Supported by a grant from the Carmen A. and Jack D. Kuehler Undergraduate Engineering Research Fund, Judnich began research with Nam Ling, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Engineering. This work culiminated in a paper, "Fast Multiresolution Terrain Rendering with Symmetric Cluster Sets," which was accepted into ACM SIGGRAPH Asia 2011. Judnich was a 19-year-old sophomore when the paper was submitted in competition with Ph.D.s and graphics experts worldwide to this top conference in computer graphics.
What exactly did Judnich do? He made the algorithm faster, more flexible, and more efficient?improving overall performance by 50 percent.
Judnich's innovation and skill have made him an attractive recruit with industry leaders. Last summer he interned at NVIDIA and Microsoft has already snagged him for an internship next summer.
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