Media Systems – Envisioning the Future of Computational Media


This is the final report of the Media Systems project held at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2012. This gathering brought together field-leading participants working in media-focused computer science, digital art, and digital humanities, located in and across universities, industry, federal agencies, publishers, and other stakeholders in the future of media. Participants focused on diverse aspects of how new media forms are impacting culture, education, the economy, and other areas of national importance, using examples ranging from the World Wide Web to computer animation, and from video games to social media. Surprisingly — despite this diversity of background and focus — rather than struggling to explain our different fields to each other, we found ourselves engaged in deep conversations focused on a coherent set of shared activities. For the purposes of this report, the authors have chosen to name these activities computational media.

Executive Summary

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Full Report

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About Noah Wardrip-Fruin, and Michael Mateas

Noah Wardrip-Fruin is Associate Professor of Computer Science and co-director of the Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz. His books include The New Media Reader (MIT Press, 2003) and Expressive Processing (MIT Press, 2009). Recent projects include Prom Week (2012 finalist at IndieCade and the Independent Games Festival) and the 2014 report of the Media Systems project: "Envisioning the Future of Computational Media" (a project supported by the NSF, NEH, NEA, Microsoft Studios, and Microsoft Research). He holds an MFA and PhD from Brown University, an MA from New York University, and a BA from the Johnston Center at the University of Redlands.

Michael Mateas is Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center for Games and Playable Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he helped launch the Computer Game Design degree, the first of its kind in the UC system. His work explores artificial intelligence-based art and entertainment, forging a new research discipline called Expressive AI. Michael, who holds the MacArthur Endowed Chair, runs the Expressive Intelligence Studio with Noah Wardrip-Fruin. EIS, as it is known, is one of the largest technical game research groups in the world. Current group projects include automated support for game generation, automatic generation of autonomous character conversations, story management, and authoring tools for interactive storytelling. Prior to Santa Cruz, Michael was a faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology. With Andrew Stern, he created Façade, an award-winning interactive drama that uses AI techniques to combine rich autonomous characters with interactive plot control, creating the world’s first, fully-produced, real-time, interactive story. Façade is available for free download at Michael received his BS in Engineering Physics from the University of the Pacific (1989), his MS in Computer Science from Portland State University (1993), and his Ph.D. in Computer Science (2002) from Carnegie Mellon University.