Director, Sketch Recognition Lab; Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering,
Texas A&M University
Director of the Sketch Recognition Lab and Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, Tracy Hammond is an international leader in sketch recognition research. She holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science and FTO (Finance Technology Option) from MIT, and four degrees from Columbia University: an M.S in Anthropology, an M.S. in Computer Science, a B.A. in Mathematics, and a B.S. in Applied Mathematics. Prior to academia, Tracy spent four years at Goldman Sachs. Based on her NSF research, she has published over 70 papers on sketch recognition at a variety of conferences, taught several sketch recognition tutorials, organized several sketch recognition workshops, and she is currently working on a textbook with Cambridge University Press. Tracy is the PI for over 2 million in research funding. She also runs an interdisciplinary informal education talk series called Subversive Manifesto for Underground Technology combining art, music, and scientific research.
Sketch recognition is the automatic understanding of hand-drawn diagrams. The sketch recognition lab at TAMU has developed sketch recognition systems to help teach hand-eye coordination and spatial cognition through drawing tools that allow them to draw directly on the tablet PC and provide real-time feedback. We have programs that automatically correct hand-drawn homework diagrams in Engineering 111 (Mechanix), teach facial drawing skills (iCanDraw), and even one that uses what we call the Egon Schiele effect to purposefully, creatively, and according to context distort beginner's students' lines to teach line confidence. We believe such spatial cognition skills (which, in art class are simply thought of as fundamental skills akin to teaching the tool/pencil coordination and precursors to higher level art classes) are fundamental to art and engineering alike.
Work environment and institutional setting
Texas A&M University, located in College Station, is the flagship state university of the Texas A&M University System, a land, sea, and space grant institution. The Dwight Look College of Engineering is the engineering school of Texas A&M University in College Station and is home to nearly 9,500 engineering majors in 12 departments. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering includes the Sketch Recognition Laboratory, which provides a research home to approximately 30 ethnically diverse undergraduate and graduate students each year. These students have published over 70 student first authored papers at top-tier conferences and journals (including first authored conference journal papers from undergraduate researchers). The lab has direct, immediate, and regular (e.g., weekly) collaboration with professors and students from Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Visualization Lab, Psychology, Teaching and Learning, and Developmental Education.