Research in visual computing has evolved tremendously in the last decade. Besides classical topics, including image processing, visualization, and rendering, interactive systems such as computational imaging, games, augmented reality, and virtual reality have become more and more relevant.
Not only the rapid development of graphics hardware and machine learning, but also a stronger overlap with interdisciplinary fields, such as computer vision, applied optics, visual perception, and human-computer interaction, shaped visual computing in the previous years and made it into what it is today: an exciting and multidisciplinary field of research with applications in almost all aspects of our modern life.
It ranges from visual effects that we can see (but not really notice anymore) in blockbuster movies, over computer and video games, to visualization techniques that professionals such as doctors and scientists apply to make things visible and to understand them.
Our research mission is focused on the investigation and development of new techniques that support future display and imaging technologies. Real-time computer graphics and computer vision driven by laws of visual perception and machine learning represent the technical foundations. Display and imaging devices, such as projectors, cameras, (auto-)stereoscopic, and holographic displays in combination with the underlying concepts of applied optics represent the technological foundations. We are also adapting rendering, visualization, as well as image processing and analysis techniques to become more efficient when linking them closely to the underlying display and imaging technology, and to models of human visual perception. The applications are interdisciplinary, and currently range from projection displays over digital video composition and defocus compensation, radiological visualization to microscopy. Such a strong coupling of computer graphics and computer vision is today referred to as "visual computing".
Over time the institute's research focus has been extended with the fields of visualization and visual analytics. Over the last decades the possibilities to collect and store data increase at a much faster rate than our ability to use it for making decisions. In our research, we strive to develop novel techniques that allow analysts from various domains, in particular biology and medicine, to extract knowledge from their data and gain new insights. Visual analytics even goes a step further by combining the power of visualization with automated analytical techniques such as statistics.
Recently, the scope of the institute has widened to include research on games. It focuses particularly on research centered around games user research and playtesting, games analytics, as well as visualization of behavioral data of players using methods from human-computer interaction, visualization, and data science for the purpose of improving game design and player experience, innovating game technology, empowering players and communities, and informing business decisions. In doing so, we combine theory and application-oriented research to create scientific knowledge of practical value.