Disney Research Boston

South Boston, United States

Disney Research Boston

South Boston, United States
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Yedidia J.S.,Disney Research Boston
Journal of Statistical Physics | Year: 2011

Message-passing algorithms can solve a wide variety of optimization, inference, and constraint satisfaction problems. The algorithms operate on factor graphs that visually represent and specify the structure of the problems. After describing some of their applications, I survey the family of belief propagation (BP) algorithms, beginning with a detailed description of the min-sum algorithm and its exactness on tree factor graphs, and then turning to a variety of more sophisticated BP algorithms, including free-energy based BP algorithms, "splitting" BP algorithms that generalize "tree-reweighted" BP, and the various BP algorithms that have been proposed to deal with problems with continuous variables. The Divide and Concur (DC) algorithm is a projection-based constraint satisfaction algorithm that deals naturally with continuous variables, and converges to exact answers for problems where the solution sets of the constraints are convex. I show how it exploits the "difference-map" dynamics to avoid traps that cause more naive alternating projection algorithms to fail for non-convex problems, and explain that it is a message-passing algorithm that can also be applied to optimization problems. The BP and DC algorithms are compared, both in terms of their fundamental justifications and their strengths and weaknesses. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Derbinsky N.,Disney Research Boston | Bento J.,Disney Research Boston | Yedidia J.S.,Disney Research Boston
Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures | Year: 2014

In this paper we consider optimization as an approach for quickly and flexibly developing hybrid cognitive capabilities that are efficient, scalable, and can exploit task knowledge to improve solution speed and quality. Given this context, we focus on the Three-Weight Algorithm, which is interruptible, scalable, and aims to solve general optimization problems. We propose novel methods by which to integrate diverse forms of task knowledge with this algorithm in order to improve expressiveness, efficiency, and scaling across a variety of problems. To demonstrate these techniques, we focus on two large-scale constraint-satisfaction domains, Sudoku and circle packing. In Sudoku, we efficiently and dynamically integrate knowledge of logically deduced sub-problem solutions; this integration leads to improved system reactivity and greatly reduced solution time for large problem instances. In circle packing, we efficiently integrate knowledge of task dynamics, as well as real-time human guidance via mouse gestures; these integrations lead to greatly improved system reactivity, as well as world-record-breaking solutions on very large packing problems. These results exemplify how cognitive architecture can integrate high-level knowledge with powerful optimization techniques in order to effectively and efficiently contend with a variety of cognitive tasks. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Piddington K.,Polytechnic University of Mozambique | Levin D.I.W.,Disney Research Boston | Pai D.K.,University of British Columbia | Sueda S.,Polytechnic University of Mozambique
Proceedings - SCA 2015: 14th ACM SIGGRAPH / Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation | Year: 2015

We present a new, Eulerian-on-Lagrangian approach for modeling cloth. When a cloth modeled using the traditional Lagrangian approach is moved around an object with sharp corners, such as the edge of a table, the cloth cannot always bend smoothly around the object because it can bend only at its nodes. With our method, these constraints are built into the discretization of the cloth, giving us an equation of motion that directly honors these constraints. This allows the cloth to bend and move smoothly around such constraints. We show how our method can efficiently handle challenging simulations, such as pulling a table cloth from under wine glasses without knocking them over.

Li D.,University of British Columbia | Sueda S.,University of British Columbia | Sueda S.,Disney Research Boston | Neog D.R.,University of British Columbia | Pai D.K.,University of British Columbia
ACM Transactions on Graphics | Year: 2013

We present a novel approach for simulating thin hyperelastic skin. Real human skin is only a few millimeters thick. It can stretch and slide over underlying body structures such as muscles, bones, and tendons, revealing rich details of a moving character. Simulating such skin is challenging because it is in close contact with the body and shares its geometry. Despite major advances in simulating elastodynamics of cloth and soft bodies for computer graphics, such methods are difficult to use for simulating thin skin due to the need to deal with non-conforming meshes, collision detection, and contact response. We propose a novel Eulerian representation of skin that avoids all the difficulties of constraining the skin to lie on the body surface by working directly on the surface itself. Skin is modeled as a 2D hyperelastic membrane with arbitrary topology, which makes it easy to cover an entire character or object. Unlike most Eulerian simulations, we do not require a regular grid and can use triangular meshes to model body and skin geometry. The method is easy to implement, and can use low resolution meshes to animate high-resolution details stored in texture-like maps. Skin movement is driven by the animation of body shape prescribed by an artist or by another simulation, and so it can be easily added as a post-processing stage to an existing animation pipeline. We provide several examples simulating human and animal skin, and skin-tight clothes. Copyright © ACM 2013.

Bento J.,Boston College | Derbinsky N.,Wentworth Institute of Technology | Mathy C.,Disney Research Boston | Yedidia J.S.,Disney Research Boston
Proceedings of the National Conference on Artificial Intelligence | Year: 2015

We address the problem of planning collision-free paths for multiple agents using optimization methods known as proximal algorithms. Recently this approach was explored in Bento et al. (2013), which demonstrated its ease of parallelization and decentralization, the speed with which the algorithms generate good quality solutions, and its ability to incorporate different proximal operators, each ensuring that paths satisfy a desired property. Unfortunately, the operators derived only apply to paths in 2D and require that any intermediate waypoints we might want agents to follow be preassigned to specific agents, limiting their range of applicability. In this paper we resolve these limitations. We introduce new operators to deal with agents moving in arbitrary dimensions that are faster to compute than their 2D predecessors and we introduce landmarks, spacetime positions that are automatically assigned to the set of agents under different optimality criteria. Finally, we report the performance of the new operators in several numerical experiments. © Copyright 2015, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (www.aaai.org). All rights reserved.

Wang Y.,MItsubishi Electric | Wang Y.,South China University of Technology | Draper S.C.,MItsubishi Electric | Draper S.C.,University of Toronto | And 2 more authors.
IEEE Transactions on Information Theory | Year: 2013

We present an approach to designing capacity-approaching high-girth low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes that are friendly to hardware implementation, and compatible with some desired input code structure defined using a protograph. The approach is based on a mapping of any class of codes defined using a protograph into a family of hierarchical quasi-cyclic (HQC) LDPC codes. Whereas the parity check matrices of standard quasi-cyclic (QC) LDPC codes are composed of circulant submatrices, those of HQC LDPC codes are composed of a hierarchy of circulant submatrices that are, in turn, constructed from circulant submatrices, and so on, through some number of levels. Next, we present a girth-maximizing algorithm that optimizes the degrees of freedom within the family of codes to yield a high-girth HQC LDPC code, subject to bounds imposed by the fact that HQC codes are still quasi-cyclic. Finally, we discuss how certain characteristics of a code protograph will lead to inevitable short cycles and show that these short cycles can be eliminated using a "squashing" procedure that results in a high-girth QC LDPC code, although not a hierarchical one. We illustrate our approach with three design examples of QC LDPC codes - two girth-10 codes of rates 1/3 and 0.45 and one girth-8 code of rate 0.7 - all of which are obtained from protographs of one-sided spatially coupled codes. © 2013 IEEE.

Zhou Y.,Disney Research Boston | Sueda S.,Disney Research Boston | Matusik W.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Shamir A.,Disney Research Boston | Shamir A.,The Interdisciplinary Center
ACM Transactions on Graphics | Year: 2014

We present a method for transforming a 3D object into a cube or a box using a continuous folding sequence. Our method produces a single, connected object that can be physically fabricated and folded from one shape to the other. We segment the object into voxels and search for a voxel-tree that can fold from the input shape to the target shape. This involves three major steps: finding a good voxelization, finding the tree structure that can form the input and target shapes' configurations, and finding a non-intersecting folding sequence. We demonstrate our results on several input 3D objects and also physically fabricate some using a 3D printer. Copyright © ACM.

Luo L.,Princeton University | Luo L.,Disney Research Boston | Baran I.,The Walt Disney Company | Rusinkiewicz S.,Princeton University | Matusik W.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ACM Transactions on Graphics | Year: 2012

3D printing technology is rapidly maturing and becoming ubiquitous. One of the remaining obstacles to wide-scale adoption is that the object to be printed must fit into the working volume of the 3D printer. We propose a framework, called Chopper, to decompose a large 3D object into smaller parts so that each part fits into the printing volume. These parts can then be assembled to form the original object. We formulate a number of desirable criteria for the partition, including assemblability, having few components, unobtrusiveness of the seams, and structural soundness. Chopper optimizes these criteria and generates a partition either automatically or with user guidance. Our prototype outputs the final decomposed parts with customized connectors on the interfaces. We demonstrate the effectiveness of Chopper on a variety of non-trivial real-world objects. © 2012 ACM.

Bermano A.,The Walt Disney Company | Bermano A.,ETH Zurich | Baran I.,The Walt Disney Company | Alexa M.,TU Berlin | And 4 more authors.
Computer Graphics Forum | Year: 2012

SHADOWPIX are white surfaces that display several prescribed images formed by the self-shadowing of the surface when lit from certain directions. The effect is surprising and not commonly seen in the real world. We present algorithms for constructing SHADOWPIX that allow up to four images to be embedded in a single surface. SHAD-OWPIX can produce a variety of unusual effects depending on the embedded images: moving the light can animate or relight the object in the image, or three colored lights may be used to produce a single colored image. SHADOWPIX are easy to manufacture using a 3D printer and we present photographs, videos, and renderings demonstrating these effects. © 2012 The Author(s).

Coros S.,The Walt Disney Company | Thomaszewski B.,The Walt Disney Company | Noris G.,The Walt Disney Company | Sueda S.,Disney Research Boston | And 4 more authors.
ACM Transactions on Graphics | Year: 2013

We present an interactive design system that allows non-expert users to create animated mechanical characters. Given an articulated character as input, the user iteratively creates an animation by sketching motion curves indicating how different parts of the character should move. For each motion curve, our framework creates an optimized mechanism that reproduces it as closely as possible. The resulting mechanisms are attached to the character and then connected to each other using gear trains, which are created in a semi-automated fashion. The mechanical assemblies generated with our system can be driven with a single input driver, such as a hand-operated crank or an electric motor, and they can be fabricated using rapid prototyping devices. We demonstrate the versatility of our approach by designing a wide range of mechanical characters, several of which we manufactured using 3D printing. While our pipeline is designed for characters driven by planar mechanisms, significant parts of it extend directly to non-planar mechanisms, allowing us to create characters with compelling 3D motions. Copyright © ACM 2013.

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