May 19, 2012

Johnny Chung Lee's Recent Words of Wisdom & Google's Open-Source Ceres Non-Linear Least Squares Solver

I have been a fan of Johnny Chung Lee since 2007 or 2008, before he finished his Ph.D in Human-Computer Interaction.  Johnny went on to work at Microsoft (Kinect) and then Google, where he works as a Rapid Evaluator. 

Johnny is known for his experiments with the Wii Remote, which he introduced to the world during a TED Talk in 2008.  He continues to maintain his Procrastineering blog, and from time-to-time, uses his blog to share his take on the world of technology.  The following quote is a good example of his viewpoint, taken from his post, "Technology as a Story":

"...what saddens me is when I encounter technologists with the brilliance to create new and wonderful things, but lack a sense of what is beautiful to people. Technology is most often known for being ugly and unpleasant to use, because technologists most often build technology for other technologists.
...But to touch millions of people, you have to tell a story - a story that they can believe in, a story that can inspire them. Technology is a tool by which new stories can be crafted." - 

Today, I came across Johnny's most recent post, which asks, "So, what exactly is a "non-linear least squares solver"?  And why should you care?   Take a moment to read his post, "Ceres: solving complex problems using computing muscle".  Google just open sourced the Ceres Non-Linear Least Squares Solver.

If Johnny Chung Lee thinks that this is "probably the most interesting code library" that he's had a chance to work with, it probably has some value. 

Even if if you don't have a clue about the Ceres Non-Linear Lest Squares Solver,  you might appreciate Johnny's examples of how would it would useful. In today's rapidly-accelerating technology-supported world, you just might need it in your future!

Here are a few examples:
---Making sense of sensor data from multiple locations (see video "SLAM 1: Viewed at 6X speed")
---Figuring out the position of a camera and the objects in view (see video "Parallel Tracking and Mapping for Small AR Workspaces")
---Combining GPS data with vehicle sensors in cars. (see video "Street View Sensor Fusion with Ceres")

Johnny Chung Lee's Website
Excerpt from a post I wrote about Johnny Chung Lee four years ago:
I wish I could be Johnny Chung Lee for a Day! 3/2/08
I've mentioned in previous posts that I am a fan of Johnny Chung Lee, a Ph.D. student in the Human-Computer Interaction department at Carnegie-Mellon University. Johnny expects to complete his Ph.D this year. Johnny recently presented his innovative work at TED 2008. 

What impresses me about Johnny is the way that he has documented his intellectual journey in a very accessible way, by using YouTube and his well-organized, appealing website. Johnny has taken interesting ideas that most would dismiss as silly or impractical, and transformed them into useful, usable applications that hold great promise for future work. 

 In my opinion, many of Johnny's "hacks" will spark ideas related to the design and development of universally designed technologies and applications that will meet the technology needs of a wider range of people. This is important, especially now that an increasing number of "connected" interactive displays and kiosks (known by the marketing industry as interactive digital signage) in public spaces.

January 2011 post:
"Hi, Google. My name is Johnny Chung Lee": Johnny Chung Lee Leaves Microsoft. (I still wish I could be Johnny Chung Lee for a day.)
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