The Computational
Aesthetics Group is a campuswide organization whose purpose
is the computational analysis of aesthetics in the design process. The research interests and principles
of this group are based on the statement of purpose of the International
Society for Mathematical and Computational Aesthetics, from which
we quote directly, as follows:
Statement of purpose from
the International Society for Mathematical and Computational
Aesthetics
The computational analysis of design is
now a enormous discipline involving the interaction of highlevel
mathematics with advanced programming technologies. All design
attempts to satisfy two constraints: functionality and aesthetics.
Even a discipline as functionally oriented as structural engineering,
in fact, involves aesthetic control over systems of nonlinear
equations. Aesthetics allows for (1) productive unification of
perception, reasoning, and action, (2) understandability despite
complexity, (3) generalization and reusability, (4) axiomatic
economy and principled prediction. Aesthetics is a major force
in each of the following areas:
ComputerAided Design and
Manufacturing, Robot Motion Design: There has been considerable convergence in mathematics
across the different types of CAD (e.g., in architecture and
mechanical design), as well as manufacturing by shapesculpting
technology, and robot motion design. We note that Frank Gehry's
Guggenheim museum at Bilbao was possible because James Glymph
imported into architecture a major program designed by the French
for aerospace engineering. The reason for the converging unity
is that each of the several disciplines involves analysis of
spatial systems of movement, control, and shape deformation 
whose natural description is Lie algebras, tensor geometry with
exterior differential calculus, and algebraic geometry.
Analysis of Artistic Masterpieces.
Remarkable advances
have been made in the mathematical and computational analysis
of major artistic masterpieces  from the chorales of Bach, the
piano sonatas of Beethoven, to the paintings of Picasso and Raphael,
etc. Again, these analyses mainly involve Lie groups, Lie algebras,
algebraic and differential geometry.
Scientific TheoryBuilding
and Reasoning: It has
been wellrecognized that aesthetic criteria play a powerful
role in determining the design of theoretical models (e.g., irreducible
representations of compact Lie algebras predicted the particle
systems of quantum mechanics), as well as the dynamic equations
of physics (e.g., Paul Dirac declared that the design of his
relativistic electron equation was determined primarily by aesthetic
criteria). The problem of insight in theorybuilding,
problemsolving, and reasoning generally has been tackled with
significant advances in AI  particularly in the problemreformulation
community, which is based strongly on the aesthetic supervision
of discrete algebraic systems.
Software Design: It is clear that aesthetic criteria
play a major role in determining software cohesion and decomposition,
e.g., module decomposition in structured programming, object
decomposition in objectoriented technology. Furthermore, it
is apparent that there has been a remarkable interaction between
the design of software and the software of design
 and that this selfreferring advance is driven by the need
for aesthetic structuring of systems of computational operations.
The International Society for
Mathematical and Computational Aesthetics is concerned with any
design object, whether it be the machinesculpted surface
of a car body, the Beethoven Hammerklavier sonata, the Feynman
propagator in quantum electrodynamics, or reusable software.
We are concerned with advanced research in four directions:
(1) how the design decisionflow
is controlled by aesthetics; (2) what structural aspects of a
design object are taken to be aesthetic; (3) how aesthetic value
is computed by the designer and user; and (4) how aesthetics
is integrated with function in the design object.
Faculty Membership
of the Rutgers Group
To be a faculty
member of the Rutgers group, you must either (1) have a technical
degree; i.e., in mathematics, a physical science, engineering,
or computer science; or (2) be a faculty person in a technical
department, or (3) have substantial published record in digital
design.
Student Membership
of the Rutgers Group
Students can
be members if their current studies are clearly moving them towards
the above qualifications.
Contact: Professor
Michael Leyton: MLeyton@msn.com
Linked organizations:
International Society
for Mathematical and Computational Aesthetics
International Society
for Group Theory in Cognitive Science
