Computer Imaging, Spring Quarter 2019

Syllabus contents:

  1. General Information
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Course Objectives
  4. Textbooks and other information sources
  5. Computing Facilities
  6. Assignments and Grading
  7. Policy on Academic Integrity
  8. Students With Disabilities
  9. Inclass Distractions

General Information
Accounting details

MAT 235 / CS 291A

4 Units

This course satisfies the Application track (for CS Master's students)

See the course home page for meeting times and locations, instructor information, and course communication. We will be using GauchoSpace mostly for grading purposes. Piazza is yours to do with it what you wish.


There are no formal course prerequisites except for consent of instructor. Consent will be given to students who are reasonably familiar with computing, have done some non-trivial programming, know (or at least, used to know) calculus and linear algebra, and are willing to are motivated to learn about new topics. Basically, a general MAT or undergraduate CS background or the equivalent. No experience with image or signal processing is assumed. If you're not fresh on some of these topics, a brief review will be helpful. There are many useful review sites on the web; in addition, see the course Links page.

Course Objectives

This course is about digital images (and video): how they are created, stored, compressed, transmitted, displayed, processed, and used in various applications, including creative uses of imaging. This is not a course on computer vision, image processing, or computer graphics - rather, it is a course that is in many ways complementary to these other subjects. Background in these areas is not required, although students who have some background in these subjects can also learn a good deal of valuable information in this course.

Computer imaging, visual computing, digital imaging.... Whatever one calls it, imaging is becoming increasingly important in computer- and communication-related fields. As computational power and bandwidth increase, more and more use is being made of images, video, and 3D in all sorts of applications and environments. Imaging is central to communications, entertainment, human-computer interaction, medicine, meteorology, transportation, space exploration, etc.

There are many types of image sources, imaging technologies, imaging systems, and applications of imaging. It is beneficial for people involved in various aspects of imaging to have a solid foundation in the range of relevant areas. For example, people working in image compression should understand specifically how the images are formed in order to take advantage of inherent constraints or redundancies caused by the imaging process. Similarly, engineers who design cameras should understand how their engineering decisions will impact people using those cameras for medical imaging or videophones.

In this course, we will explore the digital imaging process, from light and image formation to image processing to display systems, and investigate particular applications of imaging. Topics may include:

By the end of the course, students will understand how digital images are formed in detail, the implications of various imaging technologies and standards, the fundamentals of image processing and related areas, and how imaging systems are used in a variety of applications.
Textbook and other information sources

There is no assigned textbook. Readings will also be made available on the course web site.

There are several sources of information that will be important for the course:

Computing Facilities

There will be programming assignments and/or projects. You may use the CSIL machines, your own machine, or any other computer you prefer.  If you need a computer account for this course, see Benji Dunson in the Computer Science office (2106 Frank Hall).

Assignments and Grading

Grades will be based on the following criteria (tentative):

  Final exam
  Presentation(s) and class participation

Late assignments will not be accepted - turn in what you have by the due date and time.

Policy on Academic Integrity

Please read this section carefully.

The university, the department, and this instructor all take the issue of academic integrity very seriously. A university requires an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. While collaboration is an integral part of many scholarly activities, it is not always appropriate in a course, and it is never appropriate unless due credit is given to all participants in the collaboration. This goes for both ideas and programming or other work.

Here are some examples:

For some views on academic integrity at UCSB see the Academic Integrity page of the Office of Judicial Affairs.

Summary: Academic integrity is absolutely required - dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) benefits no one and hurts everyone. If you are not sure whether or not something is appropriate, ask the instructor or the TA.

Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a (temporary or permanent) disability and would like to discuss special academic accommodations, please first contact the Disabled Students Program (DSP) at UCSB. DSP will arrange for special services when appropriate (e.g., facilitation of access, note takers, readers, sign language interpreters). Please note that it is the student's responsibility to communicate his or her special needs to the instructor, along with a letter of verification from DSP. The instructor will be happy to make the appropriate accommodations once you work out the details with DSP; also, feel free to communicate these needs to the instructor while waiting for DSP to finalize their response.

Classroom computer use policy - Please come to class in order to focus on the subject at hand - not on email, texting, Facebook, web surfing, etc. This is distracting to your classmates and the instructor. If you truly need to use class time to devote to these activities, please do it elsewhere.
No phones!
Cell phone policy - Please turn off your cell phone. If it rings, I get to answer it. Really.