Artificial Life and Virtual Worlds
For over 20 years, Jeffrey Ventrella has been an innovator at the intersection of artificial life, virtual worlds, digital art, and user interaction. While he was a researcher at the MIT Media Lab, Jeffrey developed genetic algorithms to evolve locomotion in virtual animals with interactive tools to encourage humor and emotional engagement. He was Principle Inventor at There.com, a virtual world he co-founded in 1998 which pioneered nonverbal online communication. Jeffrey’s expertise in avatars culminated in his book, Virtual Body Language, published by ETC Press of Carnegie Mellon University. After developing interactive tools for 3D modeling at Adobe Systems, Jeffrey joined Second Life where he created components to the multiuser 3D platform, including Flexible prims, Followcam, and avatar puppeteering. Jeffrey taught Building Virtual Worlds at SFU in Vancouver, and has taught courses at Tufts, UCSD, and Syracuse. He has presented his work internationally and published papers on cellular automata, fractals, and realtime simulations demonstrating Darwinian evolution (GenePool). In 2012 Jeffrey founded Wiggle Planet LLC to commercialize autonomous creatures (Wiglets) which use virtual physics, artificial intelligence, and genetics, for educational augmented reality applications.