Center for Visual Computing


Revolutionizing the way we capture, image and display the visual world.

Researchers at the Center for Visual Computing are researching and developing a future in which photograph-quality images can be rendered instantly on mobile devices. A future in which computers and wearable devices have the ability to see and understand the physical world just as humans do. A future in which real and virtual content merge seamlessly across different platforms.

“Our goal is to make significant, long-term contributions to visual computing and imaging technologies,” said Ravi Ramamoorthi, computer science professor and Center director.

The opportunities in robotics, communication, health and medicine, city planning, entertainment, 3-D printing and more are vast — and emerging quickly. To pursue these kinds of research projects, members of the Center bring together computer graphics, augmented and virtual reality, computational imaging and computer vision.

The immersive virtual and augmented-reality test beds at UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute are an ideal laboratory for the Center’s software-intensive work, which extends from the theoretical and computational to 3-D immersion.

It’s a very exciting moment to develop research that could make a big impact, explained Center member Zhuowen Tu, a professor in the Department of Cognitive Science. “It’s about sensors, data, applications, large-scale computing, representations and machine learning algorithms. We will bring them together like never before.”

Unbuilt Courtyard House

Unbuilt Courtyard House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
This rendering demonstrates how photon mapping can simulate all types of light scattering.


  • New techniques to capture the visual environment via mobile devices
  • Improved computational imaging and computer vision in the wild
  • Advanced rendering on a variety of mobile platforms


  • Achieving photograph-quality images at interactive frame rates to enable the rendering of digital reality in real time
  • Seamless rendering and mixing of real and virtual content in real time


  • Computer vision systems with human level understanding of gestures, scene semantics, activities and groups of people
  • Medical, biological and city-planning applications


  • Ravi Ramamoorthi
  • Professor
  • Computer Science and Engineering

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