Computer Graphics, Computer Vision, and HCI

Visual computing and HCI are wide-ranging fields, encompassing such topics as computer graphics, image processing, display and user interface design, computer vision, and scene understanding. This research can help machines to perceive and understand their environment, on the one hand, and to present information to and interact with users on the other.

Groups and Researchers in this Field


Perceiving Systems

Michael J. Black is one of the founding directors of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, where he leads the Perceiving Systems Department. His research addresses a variety of topics relating to computer vision and perception: the statistics of natural scenes and their motion; articulated human motion pose estimation and tracking; the estimation of human body shape from images and video; the representation and detection of motion discontinuities; and the estimation of optical flow. His early work on optical flow has been widely used in Hollywood films. He also does research on neural engineering for brain-machine interfaces and neural prostheses. He is an honorary professor at the University of Tübingen, visiting professor at ETH Zürich, and adjunct professor (research) at Brown University. Read more

Michael J. Black

Michael J. Black

MPI-IS, Scientific Director

Personal Website

Perceptual User Interfaces

Andreas Bulling leads the Perceptual User Interfaces independent research group at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction at Saarland University, working at the interface of human-computer interaction, computer vision, ubiquitous computing, and applied machine learning. One area of study is pervasive gaze estimation, i.e. the development of computational methods to unobtrusively, robustly, and accurately estimate gaze pervasively in daily-life settings. A second line of work focuses on visual behavior modeling and analysis, i.e. the development of signal processing and machine learning methods to process, model, and analyze everyday visual behavior. Third, the group investigates how to use information about visual behavior and gaze in novel human-computer interfaces. Read more

Andreas Bulling

Andreas Bulling

MPI-INF, Senior Researcher

Personal Website

Perception, Display, and Fabrication

Piotr Didyk leads the Perception, Display, and Fabrication independent research group at the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction at Saarland University as well as the Max Planck Institute for Informatics. The group’s main focus is on new display methods and output devices, for example stereo and automultiscopic screens, portable and wearable displays, and 3D printers. Current methods and tools do not take full advantage of these technologies’ capabilities, nor is their influence on user experience fully understood. Therefore, the group’s research involves exploring how human sensory systems work, building computational models that mimic their response, and developing efficient and robust methods to produce input for these new devices, taking special care to maximize perceived quality. Read more

Piotr Didyk

Piotr Didyk

MPI-INF, Senior Researcher

Personal Website

Scalable Learning and Perception

Mario Fritz heads the Scalable Learning and Perception group at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics. Advances in sensor technology and availability of data resources on the Web now give machines a more detailed “picture” of the real world than ever before—but machines are not yet able to acquire the rich semantic understanding that comes easily to humans. To narrow this gap, two of the group’s main research themes are scalable learning, to facilitate the acquisition of large-scale knowledge representations, and scalable inference, to enable reasoning over large output spaces at test time. Progress in this direction will facilitate seamless interaction and information exchange between machines and humans, with applications in information retrieval, robotics, human-machine collaboration, and assisted living. Read more

Mario Fritz

Mario Fritz

MPI-INF, Senior Researcher

Personal Website

Visual Perception

Tandra Ghose’s research interests relate to human visual perception, for example mid-level vision, figure-ground organization, cue combination, and object recognition, among others. She is an adjunct researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, where she provides advice on the design of psychological experiments, and an assistant professor in the University of Kaiserslautern’s psychology department. She is head of the Psychology of Perception Lab, which investigates various aspects of depth perception, perceptual organization, and object perception. Current and former areas of study include processes that help recover a coherent scene despite spatio-temporal gaps in the input visual information, fingerprint recognition, and eye movements in the context of tasks such as reading and image processing. Read more

Tandra Ghose

Tandra Ghose

MPI-SWS, Adjunct Faculty

Personal Website

High Dynamic Range Imaging

Karol Myszkowski leads the High Dynamic Range Imaging group in the Computer Graphics Department at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics. The common denominator in all research efforts conducted by the group is the advancement of knowledge on image perception and development of imaging algorithms with embedded computational models of the human visual system. In this way, both computational performance and perceived image quality can be significantly improved. Two areas the group studies are stereoscopic 3D and image quality metrics, often considering perceptual effects—which we can experience but not measure physically—rather than physical effects. In particular, the group aims to exploit perceptual effects as a means to overcome physical limitations of display devices and to enhance apparent image quality. Read more

Karol Myszkowski

Karol Myszkowski

MPI-INF, Senior Researcher

Personal Website

Computer Vision

Bernt Schiele is the founder of the Computer Vision and Multimodal Computing Department at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, and head of its Computer Vision research area. His group focuses on multimodal sensor processing as well as computer vision. In computer vision, they consider problems of 3D understanding of images and video, such as object class recognition, people detection and tracking, and understanding traffic scenes. In multimodal computing, they are focusing on human activity recognition as a means to study how ubiquitous or wearable computing may benefit from better sensor understanding. Their research also involves machine learning, which is instrumental to inferring higher-level information from noisy sensor data and handling large-scale multimodal databases and sensor streams. Read more

Bernt Schiele

Bernt Schiele

MPI-INF, Scientific Director

Personal Website

Computer Graphics

Hans-Peter Seidel directs the Computer Graphics Department at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, and is the Scientific Coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction. His research focuses on the development of new algorithms, closely meshing these with the capabilities of modern graphics hardware as well as a holistic view of the entire processing chain, from data acquisition and modeling through to image synthesis. This integrated view is now referred to as 3D image analysis and synthesis. Seidel has co-authored some 200 publications in the field, and more than 20 former members of his group have received offers for faculty positions at home or abroad. For his work, Seidel received the DFG Leibniz Prize in 2003 and the Eurographics Distinguished Career Award in 2012. Read more

Hans-Peter Seidel

Hans-Peter Seidel

MPI-INF, Scientific Director

Personal Website

Embodied Interaction

Jürgen Steimle leads the Embodied Interaction group at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Saarland University. His research focuses on future forms of human-computer interaction, including interaction with flexible displays, printed sensors, on-body interfaces, paper-based interaction, and interactive surfaces. His group’s vision is that instead of presenting only a small window into the digital world, user interfaces will merge seamlessly with the physical world that surrounds us. They will also take advantage of our physical skills: we are good at expressive physical interactions and fine motor movements, and have a strong sense for spatial location and arrangements. Such embodied interfaces can enable more effective, expressive, and engaging interactions—both in personal and collaborative use. Read more

 Jürgen Steimle

Jürgen Steimle

MPI-INF, Senior Researcher

Personal Website

Graphics, Vision and Video

Christian Theobalt is the head of the Graphics, Vision & Video research group at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, and a professor of computer science at Saarland University. He is also a Principal Investigator and member of the steering committee at the Intel Visual Computing Institute in Saarbrücken. The group’s research focuses on fundamental algorithmic problems that lie on the boundary between computer vision and computer graphics. Topics include free-viewpoint and 3D video, markerless optical motion capture, 3D image analysis and synthesis, image-based rendering, virtual and augmented reality, time-of-flight imaging, static and dynamic scene reconstruction, 3D computer vision, physically-based rendering, interaction, and machine learning for vision and graphics. Read more

Christian Theobalt

Christian Theobalt

MPI-INF, Senior Researcher

Personal Website