About

About

Hi there! I am Hongjun Wu (In Chinese, 吴泓骏), a New York based technical artist. Thanks for stopping by!

I work in many very different fields, traditional art such as painting and printmaking, all the way to cool tech like virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

I always try to make things that have a healthy blend of tech and art, and my goal is quite simple: If my stuff can help someone on earth have a happier day, I consider it a success.


Dreamhaven

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I work on technical art with a group of amazing people in DreamHaven’s Moonshot Games studio, helping to make the magic happen.

Unannounced Project → Moonshot Games

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I collaborate closely with the other Technical Artists on the team and as well as other disciplines will establish and maintain a process that unlocks the creative potential for all involved.

My responsibilities include:

  • Make tools in Maya and Houdini for creating art and helping Artists.
  • Make graphs for VFX and Shaders.
  • Collaborate and Communicate across departments.
  • Evaluate Artists’ needs, and identify issues, to understand and support them.
  • Document best practices and standards to ensure workflows and pipelines are shared and understood.

Cornell University

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Currently, I am a Master’s candidate at Cornell Tech for dual Master’s degrees in Information Systems and Applied Information Science.

I am also the recipient for the Connective Media fellowship from the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.

Research & Projects

RhinoCircular → Cornell Circular Construction Lab


My research at Cornell AAP - Circular Construction Lab with Prof. Felix Heisel is all about creating sustainable architecture.

I co-developed a Rhino plugin “RhinoCircular” with Vesela Petrova that helps to calculate the rate of material circularity during the design phase of constructing buildings.

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The abstract of RhinoCircular: Integrated Material and Construction Circularity Evaluation Tool for Early-design Phases, was accepted by SBE22 Berlin conference and we look forward presenting our work in Germany.

RhinoCircular was nominated as the winner for Zumtobel Special Prize for Innovation in 2021.

Mixed Reality Heavy Machinery Prototyping → Amada Co.

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I work with Cornell Tech’s Future Automation Research Laboratory (FARLAB) on a project that uses cardboard and Hololens to make intractable objects that simulate heavy machinery with two very talented colleagues, Yifu Liu and Yuzhen Zhang. We are advised by Prof. Wendy Ju and David Goedicke.

We are actively developing a cardboard prototype of a Press Brake for Amada Co. Ltd. (株式会社天田) in Japan that can interface through visual markers and other sensors with Unity and an XR environment. Our goal is to provide adequate equipment training without danger of real-world equipments. Ultimately, this project would adapt to allow users to interact with any machinery that doesn’t exist yet. Our focus is on optimizing the congruence between the virtual machine and the cardboard representation.

Should be a lot of fun!

TrackAir → Israel Institute of Technology

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I represent one of a small group of graduate students from Cornell Tech and compete in the Startup Nation in Israel Institute of Technology, along with multidisciplinary graduate researchers Jeanne Li, Jeries Saleh, Maroun Khriesh, and Bashar Khoury. Designers Forrest Mckinney and Tali Dokorchik from Wix helped us as the corporate collaborator to create our smart product “TrackAir” that raise the awareness of lung disease in developed and developing countries.

Partnering with pulmonary diseases experts Dr. Yaniv Dotan and Dr. Amir Bar-Shai, my team work on site in Israel at the Rambam Health Care Campus as well as Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center to focus on solving problems related to air pollution metrics, air pollutants and health, lung pollutants, and lung health awareness.

Open Machine Learning Courses → Kuleshov Group

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I am working with Dr. Volodymyr Kuleshov to create two open online courses for machine learning:

  • CS 5787 - Applied Machine Learning
  • CS 6785 - Deep Probabilistic and Generative Models

The courses are scheduled to be initially released in mid 2022, with following progressive updates.

Tech for Social Good

Smart Devices for Senior and Disabled Citizens → CBN

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I served as a data science consultant for Carter Burden Network to understand how introducing technology like Amazon Echo and Alexa into senior citizens’ homes can improve their lives for their TechPals program. Almost all the seniors that participated in our research have physical and some mental disabilities, therefore voice activated assistants, if used correctly, may help them reach a higher life quality. I am all in for that.

This was one of the most comprehensive analyses done of any CBN projects.

Rina Desai, Director of Grants & Program Development at Carter Burden Network.

iOS Literacy Course → Roosevelt Island Senior Center

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I taught a web literacy course called “Get to Know iOS” every week at the Roosevelt Island Senior Center. My primary focus in teaching this class is helping seniors with their electronics, especially on how to use their iPhones.

Many seniors, although they acquired a smart phone from their children or relatives, little to nobody actually teach them how to use it. While to me, iPhone is very intuitive and easy to use, many seniors struggle with basic functions like making a phone call or sending an e-mail. Some seniors have the feeling that they are left out by the society, they are terrified to make mistakes like accidentally call someone, further increasing their barrier to learn.

I believe access to personal computing should be for everyone, regardless of their age. My mission is to break these tech barriers and help the seniors improve their life quality with smart devices.

iOS Class A photo of me teaching the iOS Class at RI Senior Center. (Credit: Yulisa Santana)



University of Washington

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I earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Visual Art at the University of Washington. I specialized in printmaking and computer art, and was very fortunate to get mentored by many master artists and passionate researchers.

Interdisciplinary Visual Arts

Works On Paper → UWPRINT

My Photo Photo of me by Yukai Yan in front of the Allen Center at University of Washington, 2021.

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I pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Visual Art with a 3.96 major GPA studying at the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design. I was mentored by Claire M. Cowie, Curt Labitzke, and Kim Van Someren.

My primary field of study was works on paper, including relief printing, woodblock printing, etching, dry point, mono print, book art, and silk screen serigraphy. I also created works in non-printmaking mediums, including acrylic painting, watercolor, and computer animation.

I was a founding member of UW Printmaking Association, a student ran organization that hosts visiting artist talks and organizes two yearly artwork sale for the school. I also worked as one of the monitoring technicians for the IVA LINK Space, a studio space for students to work with different media.

Multiple works of mine were exhibited in various locations around the University of Washington campus, as well as online exhibitions since the global pandemic in 2020. During the summer of 2020, we organized an online artwork sales for local artists and raised over $6,000 to support artists and organizations like FAB-5, to help provide free art opportunities to youth leaders in historically colored neighborhoods.

Dazzle! - The Juggling Clown → UWARL

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I worked on an animated short directed by Jason Zayas, Alexander Xavier James, and Cody Wilcoxon at the UW Animation Research Labs as my capstone project.

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.

Xwift Tools

SuperFly VR - A Superhero Simulator → UW Reality Lab

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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.

SuperFly VR was co-developed with some great humans like Rory Soiffer, John Akers, Yuanyuan Christie Zhao, Nini Le, Terrell Strong, and others.

As one of the game artists, I was involved since the start of the project, and in October 2020, after almost a year’s development, we launched the game onto Steam, itch.io, and Vive Port.

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.

Incubator Photo Photo of me with colleagues mentioned above in the Reality Lab Incubator in 2019 by David Kessler.

Humanity & International Study

English Literature → UW United Kingdom Division

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The University of Washington’s United Kingdom Division hosted my study in Literature. Mentored by professional book author Peter Buckroyd and professor Dr. William Streitberger.

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 Brick Lane in London, 2018.

Ethnography Research → Harvard Center of Hellenic Studies

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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.

Roma Site Photo of one of the Roma residence research sites in Athens, 2019.

Computer Science & Engineering

Teaching Assistantship for Machine Learning → UWCSE

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I was appointed as a TA for CSE/STAT 416: Introduction to Machine Learning at the University of Washington three times, a 400-level course for undergraduate and graduate students from all majors interested in problem solving and practical machine learning based on real-world scenario. I assisted three successful quarters for Dr. Sewoong Oh, Dr. Valentina Staneva, and Dr. Vinitra Swamy, amid the global pandemic.

Aside from usual duties like teaching weekly sections, hosting office hours, and grading assignments, I also co-developed multiple programming assignments, created novice-friendly slides for my quiz sections, as well as wrote some problems for the final exam. I received an evaluation of 4.9/5 from my students, as well as all “Excellent” ratings from all the instructors.

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.

Research in Aircraft Icing and Aerodynamics → UWAIARG

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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.

AIARG Photo of the wing model that we used for wind tunnel testing in the UW Aeronautical lab, 2018.

Engineering → Tohoku University

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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.

J-PARC Polarized Neutron Spectrometer at J-PARC, 2018.

Electrical & Nuclear Engineering → EPFL

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I studied electrical engineering as an exchange student at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) with Dr. Karl F. Böhringer and Dr. Zheyi Han in Switzerland.

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.

CMS Photo of me with the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at CERN Large Hadron Collider, 2019.


Early Years

I was designed and manufactured in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China. Co-engineered by two brilliant financial managers, I had little interest in economics and accounting, which was unfortunate.

FIRST Robotics Competition Team 4415 → VCHS

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I was one of the founding members of Team 4415, a small group of students and mentors including Dalbert Brandon, Paul Devries, Dan Rupprecht, and others. We started to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition since 2014.

I started as a CAD designer during Aerial Assist℠ and Recycle Rush℠, transitioned to the lead of the CNC department in Stronghold℠, and finally became the CEO of the team and led the team during the season of FIRST Steamworks℠.

We competed in annual regional competitions in Los Angeles, Orange County, Las Vegas, and Central Valley. When I led the team in 2017, we not only had an epic fight with Team 330 in Los Angeles Regional, we also were the recipient of the Team Spirit Award in Central Valley Regional.

FRC Robots All the robots I built with team 4415.

Each year, we build a robot for a completely new challenge with new gameplay. For example, this was the game of FIRST Steamworks℠ which I last competed as a student.

Even Earlier Years

I finished my middle at the Zhuhai Experimental Middle School, and also spent several months in Aquinas High School in San Brandino, CA.

I studied at Valley Christian High School in Cerritos, California. I was loved and supported by my host families and teachers, and I could not be more thankful for everyone that helped and cared for me when I was adapting to the new environment.

Aside from robotics, I founded and chaired the Swift iOS Coding Club, and was a representative in the Model United Nations. I graduated from VCHS with a 4.0 GPA and NHS honors in 2017.