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Current photos are available at Scott's face page

Scott Draves '90

Here's my Banchoff story. It actually starts much sooner than most people would guess, in 1982. Sooner than Tom himself knows I'm sure. I was 14 years old and my older brother was graduating from high-school. He went on a tour of the colleges of the north-east to decide which one to attend. I tagged along with him and my father, an alumnus. We visited Brown and saw a lecture, I believe in Sayles hall, by Professor Banchoff entitled "The Fourth Dimension and the Life of the Mind". Afterward we saw a live computer demo of some vector graphics in the basement of some evil bunker of a building. I was quite impressed and this was the main reason I choose to attend Brown myself, four years later. It also accelerated my personal pursuit of computer graphics, which I was already programming at home own my own. I had all but forgotten about this episode until about two years ago when my father finally moved out of our old house and found a box of my stuff, including a poster from the lecture. When I saw it, the memory came rushing back.

When I matriculated in 1986 I naturally chose mathematics as my major but I was quickly drawn into Andy van Dam's computer graphics research group. Unfortunately for me somehow I never ended up taking a regular math class from Professor Banchoff. In my junior year however Nick Thompson and I began a independent study under Banchoff. Our task was to replace the calculus visualization software that ran in the Apollo lab. We spent the first six months struggling with the design and with each other, and had almost nothing to show at the end of the semester. Fortunately TFB and AVD let us plug away. Many arguments and many moons later, fnord was born.

I have to thank Tom not only the trust and time he gave us to complete the project, but also for pairing me with Nick, who became and remains my best friend.

After Brown I entered the doctoral program in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. I continued to work with fnord, using it to develop a new algorithm for visualizing implicit surfaces. Its limits became increasingly frustrating, however, and the quest to remove them led to my dissertation on metaprogramming for interactive media. It was during grad school that I officially began my career as an artist by creating visuals with software and mathematics, and distributing them for free over the net.

After graduating in 1997 I moved to the San Francisco bay area to do tech startups. Six years and four companies later I am employed by DreamWorks SKG in the R&D Department, creating tools for feature animation. At TFBCON2003 I will present a video documentary on Electric Sheep, a distributed screen-saver where the users' computers are harnessed into a P2P network for rendering and evolving artificial life-forms based on fractal mathematics.

project home page: http://electricsheep.org
personal home page: http://draves.org

— Scott Draves
October 2003

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Created: 11 Oct 2003
Last modified: 25 Oct 2003 21:14:46
Comments to: dpvc@union.edu
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