The Computational Creativity Lab (2015-2022) within CMU's School of Design is a research initiative using computational processes and methods to explore creativity. Reflecting on the integration of code/programming and creativity, we recognize that there is a dearth of research and practice that stem from an understanding of code as a creative medium for designing systems. Rather than just a means, computation is both process and material that drive creativity. We have worked on explorative and client-based projects that entail ideating futures through experimentation with emerging technologies, building generative systems for human interaction, and curating data for collaborative and communal spaces.
We sought new ways to present Census data on an urgent, but often unseen, issue in the United States: food insecurity. While Census data undoubtedly proves the scope and characteristics of hunger in the United States, it can obscure the lived experience for each one of the 49 million households that are food insecure. Our project aims to surface these stories, combining a data-driven national level picture of food security with the first person accounts of hunger from everyday Americans. By combining the power of storytelling and data, we aim to create a participatory platform where users can submit their own stories, reflections, and reactions on the issue of food insecurity, continuously enriching the content and surfacing new stories.
Working with the US Census Bureau, the Computational Creativity Lab was tasked with using Decennial Census Data to create tools that advance the Bureau’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Speaking with local librarians in Pittsburgh, PA, we learned that efforts to diversify library collections are often stalled by poor data collection. Librarians often have no way of evaluating how diverse their library’s collections are, or where there might be underrepresented authors. To address this need, we built a participatory data collection system where participants are invited to answer a series of questions which evaluate a book along certain diversity criteria. The outcome is a visualization of the data that was collected to show all the diversity criteria.
Understanding the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of an urban region is vital for policy-making, urban management, and urban planning. However, gathering socioeconomic and demographic data is difficult, often relying on costly and time consuming human-participant survey work. This project explored how the typefaces in public areas could be used to measure the socioeconomic characteristics of a neighborhood. Using a deep learning model trained to recognize type characteristics, this study analyzed 59,515 typefaces images from 748,471 Google Street View images to measure how type correlated with household income in each neighborhood. This work concluded that typeface can act as a metric to measure socio-economic characteristics.
Open-source fonts are ubiquitous throughout the Web, and yet we understand very little about the implicit connotations and underlying perceptions that users have of them. Nor do we understand how these preferences vary across cultural barriers. What’s Your Type seeks to understand these font connotations and perceptions through a web-based survey. The survey asks users to pick the font that best matches an emotive adjective—including “playful,” “informative,” and “trendy.” By gathering user responses, What’s Your Type crowdsources a database of font preferences, searchable by language and location of the respondent.
The Computational Creativity Lab is directed by Prof. Kyuha Shim at CMU Design. The alumni of CCL are shaping the future of our world. We are always looking for students who would like to partake in creative design projects as research assistants or through independent study. Say Hello~! 👋
Youngryun Cho (MDes 2023)
Yuran Ding (BS 2022)
Adam Grant (BCSA 2023)
Anupriya Gupta (MDes 2023)
Jina Lee (BDes 2022)
Ju won Lee (MDes 2023)
Yeonjin Park (MDes 2023)
Mia Tang (BCSA 2022)
Zahin Ali, IDEO
Zach Bachiri, IBM
Eva Cen, Google
Jonah Conlin, Doblin
Scott Dombkowski, Zenda Consulting
Alice Fang, The New York Times
Mathew Guo, Twitch
Joe Hines, Google
Taery Kim, Ph.D., Zenda Consulting
Cathryn Ploehn, UT Austin
Tammy Tarng, The New York Times
Shengzhi Wu, Google
Joseph Zhang, Skiff
Carnegie Mellon University Computational Creativity Lab
5000 Forbes Avenue
Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall, 204A
Pittsburgh PA 15203