Antal Spector-Zabusky and Donald Spector

Antal: Computer Science grad student; Don: Professor of Physics
Antal: Dept of Computer & Information Science, University of Pennsylvania; Don: Physics Department, Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Antal: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Don: Geneva, New York, USA

We are interested in finding means of artistic expression that make the process of creating the work part of the final product. With mathematically-based art, this intertwining of process and product has encouraged us to make artifacts that are dynamic, rather than static, so the viewer can experience the action, and not just the result, of the mathematical rules.

Schrödinger's Einstein
Schrödinger's Einstein
46 x 46 x 46 cm
Computer generated; computer displayed

We are submitting an installation in which an image slowly appears, going from a blank screen to its final form over days, timed to overlap with the art exhibition. The JPEG submitted shows 4 snapshots from the millions of steps in this sequence. The installation allows the viewer to see the final image *and* the process that creates it. That process is quantum halftoning, a stochastic method introduced in our 2017 Bridges paper, which converts a grayscale image to a set of black and white pixels by maximizing the mathematical mutual information. To evoke the similarity to quantum mechanics that gives this method its name, the image gradually appears one random pixel at a time, like an interference pattern produced one photon at a time.