Computer Graphics

Theo D'Hondt
Programming Technology Lab - Computer Science Department
Faculty of Sciences
Vrije Universiteit Brussel 











The computer science curriculum offered by the computer science department of the faculty of sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is fairly limited concerning multi media technology in general and graphical systems in particular. A number of courses on signal and image processing and similar subjects are offered by other departments in the university and may be selected as electives. Our department only offers this course to expose students to the relationship between mathematics, algorithms, programming and graphics.


Graphics is a fairly old application of computers. Fairly early on, graphics output devices became available (essentially pen plotters) but in the sixties, interactive computer graphics was born thanks to the availability of cathode ray tubes and so called vector graphics. In the seventies, research at institutes such as Xerox' Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC), led to the introduction of bitmap graphics and the birth of metaphors that we still use today in any self respecting windows based operating system. Around 1980, desktop machines such as the Apple ][ and the IBM PC turned computer graphics into a popular and widely used way to deal with information. Today, it is unthinkable (except for some retrograde command-line fanatics) to use computers without the proper graphical interface.


A well-known standard reference work on computational geometry is used (see the reading section). It is required reading for students taking this course; they will be required to master one from a selection of chapters and present it during the final test (see the test section).


The reference book specifies various geometrical algorithms in a fairly abstract form. During the lectures, and rather than proposing a literal rendition of the reference book's content, a number of algorithms will be completely elaborated. The objective is to expose students to the complete level of detail that one is forced to consider when implementing one of the proposed algorithms.


The recitations will be focused on the design and implementation of selected algorithms via hands on experimentation. To a lesser extent, they will also be used as forum on which to invite selected speakers.