Top Carnegie Mellon Computer Scientist Will Demonstrate New, Interactive Synthetic Video Interview Technology at ACM 50th Anniversary Celebration

February 28, 1997

PITTSBURGH--Raj Reddy, dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and founder of its Robotics Institute, will demonstrate a new, interactive synthetic video interview technology involving a 3D, face-to-face Q&A with Albert Einstein in a speech on future directions in computing research at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Association for Computing Machinery, March 3-5 in San Jose, Calif.

The technique, called Synthetic Interviews, integrates several important technologies developed at Carnegie Mellon, including the Sphinx speech recognition system, the Lycos search engine, digital video information retrieval and character simulation for intelligent multimedia developed at the university's Software Engineering Institute.

Users can ask questions and interact with Einstein, by speaking or typing into a computer. Through use of a unique 3D projector, Einstein will float in front of viewers with no need for glasses, as is the case with standard virtual reality technologies.

Synthetic Interviews was created by Scott Stevens and Donald Marinelli, co-directors of Carnegie Mellon's newly formed Entertainment Technology Center in the School of Computer Science. Stevens is a computer scientist, while Marinelli is on the faculty of the Drama Department in the university's College of Fine Arts. They will unveil the technology at an exposition running in conjunction with the conference, March 1-4.

Einstein, reincarnated for cyberspace by actor Jerry Mayer, can be visited at Carnegie Mellon's booth at the exposition. The booth is a joint venture of the university, the Entertainment Technology Center, Grand Illusion Studios, a university spinoff, 3D display experts Dimensional Media Associates of New York and WRS Film and Video Laboratory in Pittsburgh.

"The goal with Einstein," says Stevens, "is to do an historical figure in depth and let the audience have fun with him."

Reddy will deliver his speech, titled "Teleportation, Time Travel and Immortality," at the San Jose Convention Center at 9:15 a.m. Pacific Time, Wednesday, March 5. It will be broadcast simultaneously on the Worldwide Web at

Carnegie Mellon University

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