Visual Computing for Computer Architects

First Principles and Research Challenges

Tutorial Co-located with MICRO 2023

8:00 AM — 12:00 PM, Oct. 29 (Sunday), Harbour-A

University of Rochester
University of Rochester
Washington University in St. Louis

Why This Tutorial?

Emerging platforms such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and autonomous machines, while are of a computing nature, intimately interact with both the environment and humans. They must be built, from the ground up, with principled considerations of three main components: imaging, computer systems, and human perception.

The goal of this tutorial is to set up CS researchers for the exciting era of human-centered visual computing, where we can both 1) leverage human perception for enhancing computing and imaging systems, and 2) develope imaging and computational tools that advance our understanding of human perceptions and, ultimately, augment human perception.

To that end, this tutorial will 1) teach the basics of visual computing from first principles, including imaging (e.g., optics, image sensors) visual content, computing on visual content, displays, and human perception and cognition, and 2) discuss exciting research opportunities for the systems and architecture community.

The tutorial is not tied to a specific product or hardware platform. Instead, we focus on teaching the fundamental principles so that participants can walk away being able to design new algorithms, building new applications, and engineering systems and hardware for those algorithms and applications.


First Principles
  • Seeing eyes and thinking brain
  • Spatial/temporal/color vision
  • Light/dark/chromatic adaptation
  • Principles of displays
  • AR/VR systems and displays
  • Display power consumption and visual quality
Practices and Demos
  • Color-guided energy optimization for VR
Research Directions
  • Gaze-contingent rendering
  • Human-systems co-optimization
Coffer Break
First Principles
  • Fundamental principles of imaging
  • Camera optics
  • Modern CMOS image sensor architecture
  • Camera image-signal processing and hardware
Practices and Demos
  • Build a 5-pixel camera on a breadboard
  • CamJ tutorial, an energy modeling tool for in-image sensor visual computing
Research Directions
  • Computational image sensors: co-designing image sensors and computer architectures
  • Deep optics