Perfect Pairing: NVIDIA’s David Luebke on the Intersection of AI and Graphics

by Lauren Finkle

NVIDIA Research comprises more than 200 scientists around the world driving innovation across a range of industries. One of its central figures is David Luebke, who founded the team in 2006 and is now the company’s vice president of graphics research.

Luebke spoke with AI Podcast host Noah Kravitz about what he’s working on. He’s especially focused on the interaction between AI and graphics. Rather than viewing the two as conflicting endeavors, Luebke argues that AI and graphics go together “like peanut butter and jelly.”

NVIDIA Research proved that with StyleGAN2, the second iteration of the generative adversarial network StyleGAN. Trained on high-resolution images, StyleGAN2 takes numerical input and produces realistic portraits.

Creating images comparable to those generated in films — which could take up to weeks to create just a single frame — the first version of StyleGAN only takes 24 milliseconds to produce an image.

Luebke envisions the future of GANs as an even larger collaboration between AI and graphics. He predicts that GANs such as those used in StyleGAN will learn to produce the key elements of graphics: shapes, materials, illumination and even animation.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • AI is especially useful in graphics by replacing or augmenting components of the traditional computer graphics pipeline, from content creation to mesh generation to realistic character animation.
  • Luebke researches a range of topics, one of which is virtual and augmented reality. It was, in fact, what inspired him to pursue graphics research — learning about VR led him to switch majors from chemical engineering.
  • Displays are a major stumbling block in virtual and augmented reality, he says. He emphasizes that VR requires high frame rates, low latency and very high pixel density.


“Artificial intelligence, deep neural networks — that is the future of computer graphics” — David Luebke [2:34]

“[AI], like a renaissance artist, puzzled out the rules of perspective and rotation” — David Luebke [16:08]

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