New Courses, Faculty for Spring 2013

October 30, 2012

As the Arts and Technology program continues to grow, three new faculty will join the program in spring 2013. A variety of new courses will be offered. View the full listing of ATEC and EMAC courses on CourseBook.

New Courses

A variety of new courses will be offered at the undergraduate and graduate level.

ATEC 4370 Topics in ATEC: Visual Evidence
Maximilian Schich

Visual Evidence is a multidisciplinary course, where we will look at exemplary visualizations in the broadest sense – from classic artworks, such as Altdorfer’s Battle of Alexander, to the latest scientific plots and info-graphics. Besides analyzing visualizations much like art historians traditionally do with artworks, the course will also include some practical exercise in producing and criticizing visualizations, ideally based on examples from the student’s original focus of study.

Participants will acquire essential skills of critical seeing, enabling them to persuade with better visualizations by applying the principle of creative destruction in a cognitive way.

Integrating visualization and visual studies, the course will include introductory lectures, multidisciplinary guest speakers from ATEC and beyond, as well as collaborative projects and talks by the students.

Students from ATEC, EMAC as well as Arts and Humanities will bring in their specific skills and are encouraged to learn from each other. We will cross-fertilize literature work, critical seeing, as well as data science skills (such as acquisition, cleaning, analysis, and visualization). Programming and math skills are not necessary but very useful.

ATEC 6389 Ecology of Complex Networks
Maximilian Schich

The Ecology of Complex Networks is a fundamental phenomenon that permeates data across multiple disciplines. This course will provide an introduction to this multidisciplinary phenomenon with a (non-exclusive) focus on the arts, humanities and culture. The course will provide an overview of the emerging state of the field and it’s connections to other relevant areas, such as biology, computer science, economics, engineering, math, physics, social science, technology, and others.
Participants will acquire a basic understanding of complex network phenomena in a variety of fields, including what is currently known as data science and digital humanities.

In addition to introductory lectures and multidisciplinary guest speakers from ATEC and beyond, students will form small teams to analyze, visualize and interpret complex network data. Students from ATEC, EMACS as well as Arts & Humanities will bring in their specific skills and are encouraged to collaborate and learn from each other. We will cross-fertilize literature work, critical seeing, as well as data skills (such as acquisition, cleaning, analysis, and visualization). Basic to advanced skills in programming, statistics and math are not a requirement but very useful. Requires permission of instructor.

ATEC 6389 Virtual Analog Computing
Paul Fishwick

How would you represent computer data (big and small), equations, and code if you were told to build rather than to write software? This is the question we will explore in this seminar. Most computing has been analog until fairly recently, and our representations of software artifacts has been limited by cost of deployment.

A Petri net machine encoded in the game of Minecraft

While our computers are digital, we are analog. Recent research in neuroscience and embodied cognition indicates that we “simulate” when we read and think. This suggests a new approach to software design where we evolve new embodied media to design and build software. This media includes 3D games, mixed reality, physical computing, and 3D printing. The idea is to explore new machines in virtual spaces, and to re- envision “software” by making it analog, more accessible, and engaging, for a wide audience.

The course will involve instructor lectures, invited lectures, student talks and projects. Both ATEC and Engineering (especially Computer Science) students are encouraged to take the class. The main prerequisites are a knowledge of at least one programming language, and an interest in arts-based design.

More information about this course

ATEC 6389 Translation of Spaces and Time
Frank Dufour and Rainer Schulte

The conceptual frame of the seminar will be based on the paradigm of translation. Together with the students, the instructors plan to build the vocabulary necessary to perform complex descriptions and analyses of representations of space and time in films, poems, music, novels, plays, and interactive narratives. George Steiner’s statement that all acts of interpretation and communication are acts of translation can serve as an entrance into the study of time and space.

By its very nature, translation establishes dynamic interactions from texts to texts and cultures to cultures. Thus, students will be able to identify and describe specific aspects of representations of space and time as they relate to cultural and artistic contexts. Furthermore, the instructors will make students aware of the existence of digital tools and techniques specially designed for the analysis of textual and multimedia contents. In addition, students will gain experience in the use of such tools to build models for the recording of the representation of time and space in literature, film, music, and theater. The seminar should be of particular interest to students in arts and technology, aesthetic studies, arts and performance, and world literature.

The ultimate goal of the seminar will be the work toward recommendations for digital software that would facilitate the dynamic representations of time and space in multimedia environments.

New Faculty

Three new faculty members will be joining Arts and Technology in spring 2013: Paul Fischwick, Maximilian Schich and Scott Swearingen.

Paul Fishwick
Distinguished Endowed Chair of Arts and Technology and Professor of Computer Science

Paul FischwickPaul Fishwick is joining the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in January 2013. He will be Distinguished Endowed Chair of Arts and Technology (ATEC) and Professor of Computer Science. Paul has six years of industry experience as a systems analyst working at Newport News Shipbuilding and at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia.

He has been on the faculty at the University of Florida since 1986, and is Director of the Digital Arts and Sciences Programs there. His PhD was in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Fishwick is active in modeling and simulation, as well as in the bridge areas spanning art, science, and engineering. He pioneered the area of aesthetic computing, resulting in an MIT Press edited volume in 2006.

He is a Fellow of the Society for Computer Simulation, served as General Chair of the Winter Simulation Conference (WSC), was a WSC Titan Speaker in 2009, and has delivered over fifteen keynote addresses at international conferences. He is Chair of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group in Simulation (SIGSIM). Fishwick has over 200 technical papers and has served on all major archival journal editorial boards related to simulation, including ACM Transactions on Modeling and Simulation (TOMACS) where he was a founding area editor of modeling methodology in 1990.

Maximilian Schich
Associate Professor

Maximilian SchichDr. Maximilian Schich is an art historian, joining The University of Texas at Dallas as an Associate Professor for Art and Technology in January 2013. He works to converge hermeneutics, information visualization, computer science, and physics to understand art, history, and culture.

Recently, Maximilian worked on complex networks in the arts and humanities with Dirk Helbing, FuturICT coordinator at ETH Zurich (2012), and Albert-László Barabási, complex network physicist at Northeastern University in Boston (2008-2012). He was a DFG Research Fellow (2009-2012) and received funding from the Special Innovation Fund of the President of Max-Planck-Society (2008).

Previously, Max obtained his PhD in Art History from Humboldt-University in Berlin (2007), and his MA in Art History, Classic Archaeology, and Psychology from Ludwig Maximilians University Munich (2001). Besides, he looks back at over a decade of consulting experience, working with (graph) data in libraries, museums, and large research projects (1996-2008).

Maximilian is the organizing chair of the ongoing NetSci symposia series on Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks, as well as an Editorial Advisor at Leonardo Journal (MIT-Press). He publishes in multiple disciplines and is a prolific speaker, translating his ideas to diverse audiences across academia and industry.

Teaching at UT Dallas, Maximilian Schich aims to raise visual literacy (Visual Evidence) and provide students with a multidisciplinary perspective (Ecology of Complex Networks in Arts, Culture, and Beyond). Both aspects count on Art and Technology as key ingredients to further our understanding of our increasingly complex world.

Scott Swearingen
Associate Professor

Scott Swearingen is an artist, developer, and educator who creates interactive multimedia spaces that blur the boundaries between the virtual and practical. He has been working at the intersection of art and technology for nearly 20 years specializing in the categories of digital imaging, kinetic sculpture, video games, and virtual environments.

His work has been widely published and has garnered recognition from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences as well as the Game Developers Choice Awards. He has collaborated on several award-winning franchises including Medal of HonorThe SimpsonsDead Space and The Sims.

As a professional designer, Scott is responsible for deploying game systems, prototyping mechanics, and crafting the overall user experience. He has partnered with and been featured by such notable companies as CompuServe, Electronic Arts, and MAXIS.

Scott has also instructed on Game Design and Virtual Environments at The University of Texas at Dallas as an Assistant Professor. Since then, many of his former students have gone to excel in academia and at various industry studios including iD Software, Gearbox Software, and DreamWorks Animation SKG.

His personal interests bridge installation art with short-form game design. While Scott’s early work embodied this in spaces contextually bound to themes of navigation, his art is becoming increasingly haptic-driven in concept.