Ken Perlin's research interests include graphics, animation, and multimedia. In 2002 he received the NYC Mayor's award for excellence in Science and Technology and the Sokol award for outstanding Science faculty at NYU. In 1997 he won an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his noise and turbulence procedural texturing techniques, which are widely used in feature films and television. In 1991 he received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation.
Prof. Perlin's research interests are represented on his NYU Web site, through a wide variety of interactive Java applets. A small selection follows. In his work on facial expression synthesis an embodied agent reacts with responsive facial expression, without using repetitive prebuilt animations; facial expressions are mixed to simulate shifting moods and attitudes. The result is real-time interactive facial animation with convincing emotive expressiveness. The eventual goal of this research is to give computer/human interfaces the ability to represent the subtleties we take for granted in face to face communication, so that they can function as agents for an emotional point of view. The java demo is mostly an experiment to isolate the minimal number of facial expression elements that will produce a "convincing" impression of character and personality. This work is currently used by people who help children with affective disorders; the kids use it to teach themselves how to recognize facial expressions.
Prof. Perlin received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University in 1986, and a B.A. in theoretical mathematics from Harvard University in 1979. He was Head of Software Development at R/GREENBERG Associates in New York, NY from 1984 through 1987. Prior to that, from 1979 to 1984, he was the System Architect for computer generated animation at Mathematical Applications Group, Inc., Elmsford, NY. TRON was the first movie for which his name got onto the credits. He has served on the Board of Directors of the New York chapter of ACM/SIGGRAPH, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Software Industry Association.