Confessions of a researchaholic

May 16, 2022

Chairs-and-tables puzzle dream

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 3:52 am

I dreamed about this math/algorithm puzzle earlier this morning.

There are N tables and M chairs on an infinite plane for a class, which consists of group discussions and individual works.
During the group discussions, each student can move his/her chair towards a table.
When the discussions are over, each student will need to move his/her chair to an individual table without sharing with other students.
What is the optimal transport for this transition from a given group discussion configuration to an individual work arrangement?

May 14, 2022

White cheddar rice and corn puffs

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:31 pm
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I don’t like this drawing as the contrasts on the puffs are not strong enough to convey their shapes, but here it is.

I also drew the wrinkled/folded shape of the bag.

May 13, 2022

How to encourage on-time review submissions?

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:30 pm

May 11, 2022

Squeezed toothpaste tube

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:48 pm
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I was trying to throw away this toothpaste tube after it couldn’t be further squeezed any more before spotting it as an interesting drawing subject.

Burning the 3 am oil

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:46 am

This comment from Elon Musk reminded me that back in the good old MSR Asia days when Harry Shum would buy people free food at around 3 am and I tried to convince everyone in my projects to go home no later than midnight.

May 8, 2022

Hershey school

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:59 pm

From Is having children worth it?

Milton Hershey and Mrs. Hershey wanted to have children. They could not, for whatever reason. And they gave all of their money – like, their entire inheritance, to a philanthropic trust – it’s not hard to make the connection here – literally to create a school for orphan children. There are all these pictures of Milton Hershey and Mrs. Hershey with these orphan boys at the time. It’s since become co-ed, and you don’t have to be an orphan, but you come from, essentially, a place where you can’t safely live, so you come to live at the Hershey school, which is a boarding school. Because Hershey has done so well as a company, and because this trust was basically built on Hershey stock, this school, I think, has the highest per-capita endowment of any institution in the world, including Harvard, Stanford, M.I.T., and Princeton. So anyway, that would just be an example, I guess, of people who don’t have children – so, who are you going to pass your money down to?

May 7, 2022

If you can’t draw it simply, you don’t see it well enough.

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:45 am
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The traditional way to render a realistic image is from a physics perspective: provide a complete enough description of the scene and simulate light propagation and image formation with sufficient accuracy.
The end goal of physical realism can facilitate the understanding of the physical universe, at the expense of costly computation.
Thus, computer graphics research has been mainly about how to hack this entire process to achieve maximum realism with minimum effort.
A key ingredient for this hack is the (limit of) human perception, where both sensorial and neural passageways cap the amount of generated information beyond which further enhancements cannot be perceived (and efforts wasted).

This “rendering hack” has long preceded computer graphics (or machine computation) in visual art, which are traditionally based on manual efforts and thus impractical for brute force computation.
The end goal of artistic ideal can facilitate the understanding of perceptual mechanisms which in turn provide opportunities for subjective variations (such as different artistic styles and movements).

This is one main reason why I have been practicing drawing, sketching, painting, animation, design, and other creative forms. It is more of an exercise to see than to draw. (Besides, it is fun and diversifies my daily routines.)

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – A quote attributed to Albert Einstein.

Recent trends in black-box machine learning further moves in the opposite direction, by making the visual computation even more expensive and opaque than traditional forward rendering in computer graphics.
I look forward to see if machine learning can shed light on the artistic and subjective aspects of image formation.

May 6, 2022


Filed under: Imaginary — liyiwei @ 10:50 pm
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The curvy soft form seems intriguing.

Conference travel?

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:28 pm

On one hand I like to meet with people physically, but on the other hand I plan to keep wearing masks which might not be the best inducement for social interactions.

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