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Ben FryBen Fry
Fathom Information Design

Processing & Computational Information Design

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Building 3 Auditorium - 11:00 AM
(Coffee and cookies at 10:30 AM)

Processing(link is external) is an open source programming language and environment for creating interactive software. Initially developed to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context, Processing also has evolved into a tool for generating finished professional work. Today, there are tens of thousands of people who use Processing for learning, prototyping, and production. Over ten years, the software has also branched into other domains, with a community-led project to create a version of the API that runs in modern web browsers through JavaScript and Canvas, as well as an extension that simplifies development and deployment for Android devices.

Drawing on a background in graphic design and computer science, Ben Fry pursues a long-held fascination with data as principal of Fathom Information Design(link is external) in Boston, where he produces software, printed works, installations, and books that explain and depict topics from the human genome to baseball salaries to the evolution of text documents. With Casey Reas, he founded the Processing Project, which seeks to ruin the careers of talented designers by tempting them away from their usual tools and into the world of programming and computation. Similarly, the project is designed to turn engineers and computer scientists to less gainful employment as artists and designers.

Ben received his Ph.D. from the MIT Media Laboratory in 2004, has written a book on data visualization for O'Reilly, and co-written two others about Processing with Casey Reas. His work has been shown in multiple exhibitions and four of his pieces are part of the permanent collection at the MoMA. In 2011, he won the National Design Award for Interaction Design from the Cooper-Hewitt.

IS&T Colloquium Committee Host: Helen-Nicole Kostis

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