New club combines computer science and creativity

By: Anna Carmichael,  A&S Communications
October 27, 2017

Michael Lucido ’19 is studying computer science and is minoring in film. Last fall, he searched for a club to join that would appeal to both of his interests.

“There were either film clubs that did shooting or CS clubs that did programming,” he said, “There weren’t a lot of technology and creative clubs – they weren’t talking to each other.”

He started to talk to his friends about the need for a club that integrated both creativity and technology. They agreed.

Last February, he founded the Creative Computing Club with three friends. The club had about 15 members when it began, and focused on one project. Fast forward to this fall, there are about 60 active members and three projects that will happen throughout the semester.

“We want anyone who is interested to join, then we see what project they are most interested in and allocate them to projects,” Lucido said.

The first project focuses on virtual reality and involves making an arcade-like game with Cornell’s campus as the virtual environment. To win the game, you must fight off alien monsters, who are attempting to steal Cornell’s clocktower. At the end of the semester, students will be able to play the game at an event held by the Creative Computing Club.

The second project is a campus-wide gift exchange, which the club decided to tackle because it is so multi-faceted, Lucido said. It involves logistics, design and business and they hope to focus on user experience and how to match people most effectively. The club plans to launch this in November and hopes to get as many people on campus involved as it can.

“This project is interesting because it’s technical, but it also involves a lot of logistics and creative thinking as well,” Lucido said.

In their third project, students are teaching computers how to make art.

“Some students plan to write programs that generate abstract art, others plan to mess around with machine learning. One group had the idea of using interactive elements, like cameras and motion sensors, to help the computer make music,” Lucido said. At the end of the semester, the club plans to hold an algorithmic art show to showcase the various pieces students have created.

“Everyone’s seen art made with computers, so we figured it would be fun to flip that concept on its head and experiment with art made by computers,” Lucido said.

“Often, the art is very rooted in math – computers make great use of randomness, trigonometric functions, and geometry. For example, take something like Minecraft, where the computer creates an entire world filled with forests, oceans and caves using these fundamental concepts.

“We think there is a need for our kind of club on campus. It’s exciting to see it happen. We’re also open to collaboration with other clubs on campus. It’s also a lot of responsibility and it’s become a passion. I look forward to seeing what else we can accomplish.”

To find out more about the Creative Computing Club or how to get involved visit, www.creativecomputing.club.

Anna Carmichael  ’18 is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences.

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