Greetings! My name is Hongjun Wu (吴泓骏 in Chinese), and I’m delighted that you’ve taken the time to visit.
As a technical artist, I revel in the boundless nature of my chosen vocation, which enables me to explore a diverse array of disciplines, including game development, machine learning, user experience design, virtual reality, printmaking, photography, and painting.
My ultimate aspiration is to seamlessly integrate technology and art in my creations, striving to evoke joy and happiness in those who encounter my work. Allow me to share with you some highlights from my extraordinary global odyssey over the past decade, showcasing the breadth and depth of my artistic and technical pursuits.
I graduated from Cornell Tech with double Master of Science degrees in Information Systems and Applied Information Science with a cumulative GPA of A. I worked with Volodymyr Kuleshov to make applications of machine learning (generative models, to be specific) more common in our daily lives.
I am honored to have been granted a $30,000 Connective Media Fellowship from the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, which has significantly contributed to my academic journey and furthered my expertise in these fields.
Cornell Tech 2022 Startup Award Finalist: TrackAir
As part of a select group of Cornell Tech graduate students, I had the honor of collaborating with multidisciplinary researchers Jeanne Li, Jeries Saleh, Maroun Khriesh, and Bashar Khoury to compete in Startup Nation at the Israel Institute of Technology. With the assistance of our corporate partners, designers Forrest Mckinney and Tali Dokorchik from Wix, we developed “TrackAir,” an innovative smart product designed to raise awareness of lung disease in both developed and developing countries.
Working closely with pulmonary disease specialists Dr. Yaniv Dotan and Dr. Amir Bar-Shai, our team conducted on-site research at the Rambam Health Care Campus and the Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel, focusing on addressing challenges related to air pollution metrics, air pollutants and health, lung contaminants, and lung health awareness.
TrackAir earned a nomination as a finalist for Cornell Tech’s most prestigious honor, the Cornell Tech 2022 Startup Award. We proudly showcased our product at Cornell Tech’s annual Open Studio 2022 event, alongside other distinguished finalists.
Zumtobel Group Award 2021 Winner: RhinoCircular
Together with Vesela Petrova, I co-created an innovative Rhino plugin called “RhinoCircular,” which facilitates the computation of material circularity rates during the design phase of building construction.
Our pioneering work on RhinoCircular, encapsulated in the abstract “Integrated Material and Construction Circularity Evaluation Tool for Early-design Phases,” has been accepted for presentation at the renowned SBE22 Berlin conference. We eagerly anticipate showcasing our groundbreaking research in Germany.
In recognition of its ingenuity, RhinoCircular was awarded the prestigious Zumtobel Special Prize for Innovation in 2021 for a prize of EUR €20,000.
IHG Hotels & Resorts - Augment Reality Advertisement
While working with the IHG hotel group, I was instrumental in devising an engaging augmented reality (AR) interactive marketing campaign called “Rail Reality”. Utilizing QR codes embedded within subway advertisement posters, we captured the attention of daily subway riders by presenting them with a variety of captivating AR scenes.
These immersive experiences showcased the stunning interiors of IHG hotels and highlighted popular tourist destinations, seamlessly blending the power of AR technology with impactful marketing strategies. As a result, our innovative campaign successfully increased brand awareness and drove a significant uptick in hotel bookings, setting a new benchmark for interactive marketing in the hospitality industry.
Project Demo: Me sitting in an AR Japanese hotel room.
United Nations - CSO Learning Community
Under the esteemed guidance of UNDEF’s Deputy Executive Head for Programmes, Mikiko Sawanishi, I am privileged to be part of an exceptional team of Cornell Tech graduate students. Our collective mission is to address the compelling question: “How might we enhance communication among civic stakeholders in developing countries?” As we collaborate and innovate, we aim to make a lasting impact on the global community by fostering meaningful connections and facilitating positive change.
As a co-founder of the Learning Community Hub, I played an instrumental role in developing a centralized platform designed to empower Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working on projects aligned with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). This innovative platform enabled CSOs to:
- Engage in meaningful dialogue, seeking advice and sharing insights with one another to facilitate mutual growth and learning.
- Showcase project highlights, inspiring fellow CSOs and disseminating valuable knowledge for the benefit of those undertaking similar initiatives.
- Foster collaboration between CSOs, amplifying their collective impact and driving meaningful change on a larger scale.
- Access, view, and save a wealth of resources curated by both UNDEF and fellow CSOs, promoting knowledge sharing and enhancing project outcomes.
My experience as a co-founder has been both challenging and rewarding, as I have had the opportunity to support CSOs in their pursuit of a more inclusive and democratic global community, while also honing my leadership, strategic thinking, and collaboration skills.
Our team boasts a remarkable ensemble of diverse talents, bringing together a rich array of skills and perspectives that synergize to create a dynamic and innovative collective. Including experienced project manager Jensen Daniel, professional tech businessman Juan C. Murillo, talented designer Xinyue Geng, and law expert Sabrina Salsabila.
Amada Co. - Mixed Reality Heavy Machinery Prototyping
At Cornell Tech’s Future Automation Research Laboratory (FARLAB), I have the privilege of collaborating with two exceptionally talented colleagues, Yifu Liu and Yuzhen Zhang, on a cutting-edge project that combines cardboard and Hololens to create tangible simulations of heavy machinery. Under the expert guidance of Prof. Wendy Ju and David Goedicke.
Our current endeavor involves the development of a cardboard prototype of a Press Brake for Amada Co. Ltd., a prominent Japanese company. By integrating visual markers and other sensors with Unity and an XR environment, we aim to provide realistic and immersive equipment training without the risks associated with real-world machinery.
The ultimate goal of our project is to create a versatile solution that enables users to interact with any machinery, even those not yet in existence. To achieve this, our focus is on optimizing the congruence between the virtual machine and its cardboard representation, ensuring a seamless and accurate training experience for users.
CBN - Smart Devices for Senior and Disabled Citizens
I served as a data science consultant for the Carter Burden Network, where I examined the potential impact of integrating technology like Amazon Echo and Alexa into the homes of senior citizens as part of their TechPals program.
The majority of participants in our study were living with physical and, in some cases, cognitive challenges. Consequently, the effective utilization of voice-activated assistants has the potential to significantly enhance their quality of life. I am wholeheartedly committed to this meaningful and transformative endeavor.
The findings of this project was summarized in a 16 page CBN internal report named “Tech Pals: Results from a Smart Screen Technology Pilot for Homebound Older Adults”.
This was one of the most comprehensive analyses done of any CBN projects.
Rina Desai, Director of Grants & Program Development at Carter Burden Network.
CBN - Internet Literacy Course for Senior Citizens
Every week, I had the pleasure of teaching a web literacy course titled “Discover iOS” at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center. The primary objective of this class was to assist seniors in mastering their electronic devices, with a particular emphasis on navigating their iPhones.
Despite many seniors owning smartphones, often gifted by children or relatives, they frequently lack proper guidance on how to operate these devices effectively. While iPhones may seem intuitive and user-friendly to me, numerous seniors encounter difficulties in executing basic tasks, such as making phone calls or sending emails. This technological disconnect often leaves them feeling excluded from society and exacerbates their apprehension about making mistakes, such as inadvertently placing a call, thereby hindering their learning progress.
I firmly believe that everyone should have access to personal computing, regardless of their age. My mission is to dismantle these technological barriers and empower seniors to enhance their quality of life by harnessing the full potential of their smart devices.
A photo of me teaching the iOS Class at RI Senior Center. (Credit: Yulisa Santana)
CS 5787: Applied Machine Learning
In my role as a producer and course assistant for Cornell Tech’s CS5785: Applied Machine Learning course, I collaborated closely with Dr. Volodymyr Kuleshov to deliver a comprehensive and engaging learning experience.
My responsibilities encompassed a wide range of tasks, including assisting in course instruction, curating high-quality course materials, and developing the website for Cornell Tech’s open Applied Machine Learning MOOC course. Additionally, I played a significant role in co-authoring the online textbook, ensuring that it was both informative and accessible to students.
Through my dedication and expertise, I contributed to the success of the course and helped students gain a deeper understanding of the practical applications of machine learning.
CS 6785: Deep Generative Models
As the producer and course assistant for Cornell Tech’s CS6785: Advanced Topics in Machine Learning - Deep Generative models, I had the privilege of working with Professor Volodymyr Kuleshov to deliver the internet’s first open Ph.D. level open course on this topic. I curated high-quality course materials and developed the website for the open Deep Generative Models MOOC course, which is a collaboration between Cornell Tech, Stanford, UCLA, and Caltech.
By leveraging my expertise in the field and strong organizational skills, I contributed significantly to the success of the course, enabling students to effectively explore the latest advancements in deep generative models.
Overall, my experience as a producer and course assistant helped me gain valuable insight into the rapidly evolving field of machine learning, and I was proud to have played a role in helping students gain a deeper understanding of this exciting field.
INFO 5305: User Experience & User Research
In Spring 2023, I served as a grading assistant for the graduate course INFO 5305: User Experience & User Research at Cornell Tech, taught by Professor Shiri Azenkot, the Connective Media program director.
My responsibilities included evaluating assignments, providing feedback, and tracking students’ progress. Working closely with Professor Azenkot, I gained invaluable insights into UX design and user research methodologies. Additionally, interacting with a diverse student body helped me develop strong communication and interpersonal skills.
This rewarding experience enhanced my understanding of the subject matter and prepared me for future academic and professional pursuits.
Modern Exploration of Traditional Feng Shui Philosophy
The rapid progression of data analysis and sensor technology has led to a burgeoning understanding of our surrounding environments. Historically, Feng Shui, the Chinese philosophy that evaluates the influence of an environment on human well-being, could only be determined by self-proclaimed specialists over thousands of years.
We have developed an innovative device and methodology for assessing the ambient environment of a room, enabling us to conduct a study that utilizes sensor data to predict an individual’s well-being score within a given space. In doing so, we are able to evaluate the core principles of Feng Shui. Our study has yielded promising initial results, suggesting significant potential for further research and larger-scale experiments.
For a comprehensive understanding of our research, we invite you to review the manuscript “Feng-Shui Compass: A Modern Exploration of Traditional Chinese Environmental Analysis,” available on arXiv.
I had the unique distinction of being the inaugural technical artist intern for Dreamhaven’s in-house game studio, Moonshot Games. In this role, I collaborated on a confidential project alongside a talented team of veteran artists and developers, many of whom hailed from the renowned Blizzard Entertainment.
Moonshot Games - Unannounced Project
As a Technical Artist Intern at Dreamhaven’s Moonshot Games studio, I had the opportunity to work with and learn from industry veterans. Under the mentorship of Rick Gilliland, former lead technical artist at Blizzard Entertainment’s Heroes of the Storm, I collaborated with Steven Provost, an experienced hard surface modeler, to develop Python-based modeling tools for Maya, tailored to the needs of the artists. Additionally, I worked alongside Jenny Liu, a former technical artist from Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch team, to create shaders in Unreal Engine 5 for Philip Klevestav, a seasoned environment artist with a background in Overwatch.
Many of the tools and shaders I did for this job can be found in my Technical Art portfolio.
University of Washington
In 2021, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Visual Art from the esteemed University of Washington. During my academic journey, I was incredibly fortunate to be mentored by an array of master artists and dedicated researchers, whose guidance and expertise significantly enriched my learning experience.
Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts
Photo of me by Yukai Yan in front of the Allen Center at University of Washington, 2021.
Under the expert mentorship of Claire M. Cowie, Curt Labitzke, and Kim Van Someren, I excelled at the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design, achieving a 3.96 major GPA upon graduation.
My primary focus was on works on paper, which encompassed a diverse array of traditional fine art techniques such as relief printing, woodblock printing, etching, dry point, mono print, book art, and silk screen serigraphy. Additionally, I explored non-printmaking mediums like acrylic painting, watercolor, and computer animation.
As a founding member of the UW Printmaking Association, I contributed to a student-run organization that hosted visiting artist talks and organized biannual art sales for the school. I also served as a monitoring technician for the IVA LINK Space, providing students with a versatile studio environment to work across various media.
My artwork has been exhibited at numerous locations across the University of Washington campus and in online exhibitions since the onset of the global pandemic in 2020. In the summer of 2020, we organized an online art sale for local artists, raising over $6,000 in support of both artists and organizations like FAB-5. This initiative helped provide free art opportunities for youth leaders in historically underserved neighborhoods.
Productions & Projects
Computer Animated Film: Dazzle! - The Juggling Clown
Collaborated with six other students, we produced a short film called “Dazzle!”, an animated comedy about a clown going to audition at a circus and had a unexpected frenzy ride.
I lead the animation as well as hard surface modeling of the production pipeline, while also involved heavily in tool development, rendering, and compositing. This animated short will be shown in film festivals in New York, Seattle, and other places.
One of the accomplishments along the journey of production is the development of “Xwift” (Previously known as the “AnimKit”). A set of tools for Maya that are developed by me to tackle the challenges we encountered when producing the film remotely due to the pandemic.
Virtual Reality Game: SuperFly
I was a founding member that developed SuperFly VR at the Allen School’s Reality Lab, a research project that was originally a study on motion sickness caused by different forms of movement in a VR that was later turned into a profitable superhero simulator game in virtual reality.
Our efforts to turn an idea into a profitable project was successful - multiple YouTubers made videos about it that was watched as high as 4 million for a single video, the game was rated “Very Positive” on Steam, we sold over 15,000 copies at the time of writing. A playlist of real gameplay video from customers is also available.
Photo of me with colleagues mentioned above in the Reality Lab Incubator in 2019 by David Kessler.
Research: Decolonization Meets Marginalization - Roma of Greece
During the summer of 2019, I conducted ethnographic field work in Athens and Nafplion, led by Dr. Taso G. Lagos and Dr. Nektaria Klapaki. Our study was on the modern situation of the Roma people in Greece, a group of poor and often marginalized and discriminated people in the Greek society.
Our findings, “Decolonization Meets Marginalization: Roma of Greece, Autoethnography and Academic Journalism as ‘Social Justice,’” (Abstract) is currently under review for publish at the Journal of Charisma Studies, University of Washington.
We were hosted by American College of Greece and Harvard Center of Hellenic Studies. I visited the Roma settlements, talked with their tribe leaders, and conducted over 50 interviews with random pedestrians from different parts of Athens about their understanding of the Roma. I then analyzed over 500 interviews we conducted with my research group including Yash Singh, Andrew Pace, Erik Levi Stone, Hongyi Yan, and Shayla Forbes-Luong when I went back to Seattle.
Photo of one of the Roma residence research sites in Athens, 2019.
Research: Wind Tunnel Calibration for Aerodynamics Experiments
I spent two years working on research aiding the research in how ice formed on wings would affect the performance of the aircraft at Aircraft Icing & Aerodynamics Research Group.
I was supervised by Dean Dr. Michael Bragg and Dr. Christopher Lum, and was mentored by Dr. Mohammad Reza Soltani. Over the two years, I independently developed a complex open-source control system (Repository) for calibrating pieces of equipment for testing at the UW Kirsten Wind Tunnel.
Photo of the wing model that we used for wind tunnel testing in the UW Aeronautical lab, 2018.
Research: ML Tracking for Long-lived Particles and Dark Matter
While I was in Seattle, I also worked with Dr. Shih-Chieh Hsu on a project that used mass data generated by ATLAS from CERN to search for traces of long-life particle and dark matter using deep learning and CNN.
I visited the ATLAS and CMS detector at CERN, the Compact Muon Solenoid node for the large hadron collider during their maintenance period, as well as the CERN Data Centre. It was an eye-opening experience, and surely an accomplishment of how far humans can do with our current knowledge in science and engineering.
Photo of me with the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at CERN Large Hadron Collider, 2019.
Study Abroad: Engineering at Tohoku University
I exchanged to Tohoku University (東北大学) in Summer 2018, mentored by Dr. Fumio S. Ohuchi.
I visited the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC), which is the frontier of nuclear research in Japan. I conducted experiments on topics such as aerodynamics, electromagnetism, and wave physics at Tohoku University.
Polarized Neutron Spectrometer at J-PARC, 2018.
Study Abroad: English Literature in London
My research was mainly on the book Brick Lane, a book by Monica Ali. In this book, Ali discussed about the life of a Bangladeshi immigrant in London. I followed Ali’s steps to Brick Lane and studied what challenges a new immigrant would face in London, as well as their living conditions.
Brick Lane in London, 2018.
I had the honor of being appointed as a teaching assistant for CSE/STAT 416: Introduction to Machine Learning at the University of Washington on three separate occasions. This 400-level course, catering to undergraduate and graduate students from various disciplines, focuses on problem-solving and practical machine learning based on real-world scenarios. Throughout the global pandemic, I successfully supported Dr. Sewoong Oh, Dr. Valentina Staneva, and Dr. Vinitra Swamy.
In addition to my conventional responsibilities of leading weekly sections, conducting office hours, and grading assignments, I also co-developed multiple programming assignments, crafted novice-friendly slides for quiz sections, and contributed to the creation of final exam problems. My dedication to teaching excellence was recognized by my students, who awarded me an impressive 4.9/5 evaluation, as well as by the instructors, who consistently rated my performance as “Excellent.”
Hongjun is a devoted TA always willing to explain complex Machine Learning concepts in a simple and intuitive way and to support the students in their journey. He worked on par with the graduate TAs, and provided both his student and teaching assistant perspective on how to handle remote teaching. He created exemplary educational materials which can be used in future iterations of the course. It was pleasure to work with him!
Dr. Valentina Staneva, Instructor for CSE416 Spring 2020.
Hongjun is a great undergraduate TA for CSE 416. His machine learning fundamentals are strong, and he makes entertaining course content in the form of slides for section. Very passionate about teaching, and an asset to any course staff.
Vinitra Swamy, Instructor for CSE416 Summer 2020.
FIRST Robotics Competition
During 2014-2017, I was actively competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). I co-founded and co-led Team 4415, which not only pursued excellence on the competition field, but also fostered a strong community.
FIRST Robotics Competition 2017: Steamworks
In my fourth and final year of competing in FRC as student, I served as the CEO, CNC lead, and co-captain of the team.
We needed to build a robot that can shoot small plastic balls, pick up and place a gear-shaped object, and climb a rope.
This year’s prompt was the most difficult, as the team captain, I was involved in all the tasks in the development pipeline, including designing, modeling, manufacturing, and assembling the robot. I machined almost all the parts of the robot, including the complex ball shooter. This was the first time that we built a robot that is high performance and can accomplish every task in the challenge.
Closeup of the 2017 robot showcasing the manufacture quality. Image courtesy from team 4415.
When attending tournaments, I communicated with other captains, developed strategy, and made alliance picks during the quarter finals. It was a very challenging and rewarding season. Leading the team in competitions was the biggest highlight in my entire four years of competing in FRC as a student.
The 2017 bot climbing a rope at the end of a match. Image courtesy from team 4415.
We were semi-finalists in the Los Angeles regional, and won our first team award in the history, the “Team Spirit Award sponsored by FCA Foundation” at the Central Valley Regional.
Although not all matches have recording, this one was one of the most intense and well-fought matches we fought in that season.
FIRST Robotics Competition 2016: Stronghold
We were challenged with making a robot to breach all kinds of medieval style obstacles, and shoot a ball into a high goal.
Our 2016 bot could breach all the challenges except the low bar, due to the height of the robot is higher than the upper bar. We also developed an experimental ball shooter for the first time in the team’s history.
This was the year when we introduced the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine into the team, and I lead the CNC department for precise manufacturing. I milled most of the robot’s parts using CNC. Getting my shirts soaked with WD-40 was one of my highlights of the year.
The 2016 robot competing on the field. Image courtesy from team 4415.
2016 was a turning point year for our team, the team has grown to be more mature, and we had the resources to attempt the Chairman’s award for the first time.
We made ourselves into the quarter finals in Las Vegas regional. This year’s work paved foundations for many years to come.
FIRST Robotics Competition 2015: Recycle Rush
In 2015, the team was challenged with manipulating large totes and trash cans, stacking them on top of each other and collaborate with human players to insert pool noodles into the trash cans.
We developed a tall robot with a large claw to manipulate trashcans and fold-able wings to strategically grab all trashcans to our alliance’s side.
The robot readies up for autonomous period. Image courtesy from team 4415.
Our team grew in our second year and we were able to design and manufacture more complex parts, such as the fold-able trashcan grabber which spans almost 75% of the length of the field. This well-designed robot performed exceptionally well in high level matches. The ability to steal all the trashcans at the beginning of the match, which are the most important game elements, gave us an edge over opponent teams.
Closeup of the fold-able trashcan grabber. Image courtesy from team 4415.
We made ourselves into the semi finals in the Las Vegas regional, as well as quarter finals in Los Angeles regional. A steady improvement for year two.
FIRST Robotics Competition 2014: Aerial Assist
I was one of the founding members and CAD designers of Team 4415, a team based in Cerritos, California to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition 2014 challenge.
The challenge involves loading, pickup, and shooting a large ball into a target, and pass the ball between robots and human players.
In our rookie year, the team developed a robot that operates pretty much like an ancient catapult, and it performed well. This was the first year we had a complete CAD model of the entire robot, we produced and manufactured all the parts in house.
Closeup of the robot. Image courtesy from team 4415.
We made ourselves into the quarter finals in the Los Angeles regional in our rookie year!
The robot shoots a blue ball at the goal in Los Angeles regional. Image courtesy from team 4415.