Vision by David Marr is a fascinating textbook that explores the ideas behind computer (and perhaps also human?!) visual pattern recognition. Marr explains his theories and research plans in a lucid and technically-detailed fashion. Among the host of powerful metaphors that he develops is the delightfully-named "two-and-a-half dimensional sketch" --- a halfway house between the flat image on a retina (or focal plane) and the full 3-D model of reality.

But there's a special poignant aura surrounding Vision. As he wrote it, David Marr knew he was soon to die of acute leukemia. He threw his energy into the work; it remains one of his monuments. And I thought of Marr when, standing in a bookstore, I glanced at the preface to one of Robert Nozick's last philosophy tomes. Nozick acknowledges the contributions of various people, and among them thanks his oncologist for giving him a few more years.

Life: every day a gift ...

(see BennettOnStoicism (29 Apr 1999), RobertNozick (2 Feb 2002), VeryGoodDay (7 May 2003), ... )

TopicLiterature - TopicLife - TopicPhilosophy - TopicScience - TopicProfiles - 2004-02-26

(correlates: UnknownFriend, DiagnosisMortality, BookCoverJudgment, ...)