COMPUTER SCIENCE GETS ARTISTIC
DARCI may be intelligent, creative, sleek, and artistic, but she’s no typical co-ed art student.
Actually, DARCI is a computer program, the brainchild of Computer Science professor Dan Ventura and his students. DARCI, which stands for Digital Artist Communicating Intent, is part of ongoing research into what creativity is and its application to artificial intelligence.
Though DARCI is ultimately designed to produce art, the first step in the project was training DARCI to evaluate art. The main concept behind the programming that makes this possible is a neural network, a mathematical abstraction designed to model the architecture of the brain.
With the help of upper level visual arts students and curators from BYU’s Museum of Art, selected images were chosen as training example for DARCI. Before being input to DARCI, these images were encoded as a set of low-level vision features measuring aspects of the image, such as color content or texture.
For each picture, the students labeled the image with adjectives, such as «calm» or «painterly», and then corrected DARCI as it applied adjectives on its own. This process was then repeated with images of what the trainers considered to be good and bad art. After using this data for several hundred training cycles involving several million synaptic updates, DARCI was deemed ready to judge an art show.
The “Fitness Function” art exhibit was held during March in BYU's Harris Fine Arts Center. Anyone was allowed to enter the gallery and upload a digital image to DARCI’s system. DARCI scored each piece from 0-100. Works that received a score of 70 or above were accepted and printed on-site. Markers and clips were on hand for accepted artists to sign their work and hang it up in the gallery.