Whitman Richards Whitman Richards Whitman Richards Whitman Richards
Computer Science & AI Lab (CSAIL)
Cambridge MA 02139
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(animation courtesy of Eric Saund)
Relevant Past Positions:
1993-2000 Scientific Director, Nissan Cambridge Basic Research
1992-2000 Advisory Board, Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, Univ. Penn.
1988-93 Advisory Committee, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, AI & Robotics
1972-78 NAS-NRC Committee on Vision (Chairman 1976-77)
1953-55 Central Intelligence Agency
Main research focus has been visual perception: mechanisms and models. Beginning first with studies of early visual processing, current work is now at a very high cognitive level, with emphasis on perception as a complex system of semi-autonomous modules -- roughly akin to Minsky's "Society of Mind."
In the mid-seventies, research activity was redirected after meeting David Marr. Rather than concentrating on mechanisms of vision, the emphasis changed to understanding the minimal conditions that should be satisfied for a vision system "to work." Computational studies that met Marr's criteria turned out to be major advances in vision understanding. My contribution, together with those of my students, appears in a book called "Natural Computation", which covers work in vision, hearing, and motor control.
Since the late eighties, we've asked what it means for a machine to perceive. This has led to the study of problems in high level vision and to the question of how perceptual knowledge is represented and structured. One proactical consequence of this work was the invention of a new scaling technique, "Trajectory Mapping", which overcomes some of the limitations of traditional multi-dimensional scaling methods, and allows one to explore the "paths" that link elements in conceptual spaces. These paths seem to reflect a modal character of natural events. Understanding these types of maps has the potential benefit of revealing how cognitive representations may be organized and manipulated, giving us insights into the design of future artifacts and meaningful interfaces between mind, brain, people and machines. These more recent studies have shown the form of knowledge structures is a key to understanding rational behavior in complex, intelligent systems.
MURI INITIATIVE & THRUST:
HARD TO FIND REPRINTS:
An Observation About Myelination. W. Richards, R. Kalil, and C.L. Moore. Exp Brain Res (1983) 52: 219-225.
Anomalous Stereoscopic Depth Perception. W. Richards. Journal of the Optical Society of America, Vol. 61, No. 3, pp. 410-414, March 1971.
Oculomotor Effects upon Binolcular Rivalry. W. Richards. Psychol. Forsch. 33, 136-154 (1970).
Playing Twenty Questions with Nature. W. Richards and A. Bobick. Computational Processes in Human Vision: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, pp. 3 - 26 (1988).
Quantifying Sensory Channels: Generalizing Colorimetry to Orientation and Texture, Touch, and Tones. W. Richards. Sensory Processes 3, 207-229 (1979).
Response Functions for Sine- and Square- Wave Modulations of Disparity. W. Richards. Journal of the Optical Society of America, Vol. 62, Number 7, July 1972.
Saccadic Suppression. W. Richards, Journal of the Optical Society of America, Vol 59, No. 5 617-623, May 1969.
Seeing shapes that are almost totally occluded: A new look at Parks's camel. Shinsuke Shimojo and Whitman Richards. Perception & Psychophysics 1986, 39 (6), 418-426.
Spectral categoratization of materials. John M. Rubin and W.A. Richards. Image Understanding 1985-86, MIT, Ablex Publishing, New Jersey.
Structure from stereo and motion. W. Richards. Journal of the Optical Society of America, Vol. 2, p. 343, February 1985.
Why Rods and Cones? W. Richards. Biological Cybernetics 33, 125-135 (1979).
PUBLICATIONS BY TOPIC AREA:
Perception and Cognition
Neuroanatomy & Neuropsychology
Oculomotor Influences in Perception