May 6, 2006


by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 7:26 am

Yesterday, as Scott predicted, I successfully defended an interdisciplinary PhD at Brown. I’ll be posting more information about it before long, and hopefully updating my moribund personal website at the same time, but first I have some plans. The biggest is for this May 28th, when I’ll be getting married to Jennifer. We’ve been friends for 19 years now, and I’m looking forward to being family with her.

This summer I’ll also be starting a new job in UCSD’s Communication department. They advertised for a practitioner/theorist of digital media, and that’s just the kind of position I was after — plus the UC system seems a hopping place for GTxA-style work these days. Also, beyond the trip to Brazil, I’ll be going to Russia for two weeks to teach at the Summer Literary Seminars, as well as making a trip to India for two weeks to meet Jennifer’s father and other members of her family there. Then there’s moving across the country, perhaps buying a house, and one or two other things in the works…

In the meantime, I’ll be posting here as much as life allows, and perhaps will get to catch up with folks at ISEA? (I’m afraid I’ll only be dropping in at E3.)

17 Responses to “Plans”

  1. JIll Says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Noah, that’s wonderful, I’m so happy for you! And will the dissertation be available online or otherwisedly?

    And um, you sure you’ll have enough to keep you busy?

  2. nick Says:

    Noah, congratulations! This is great news – please do post at least your dissertation title and abstract.

    See you soon. I’ll miss you here at the bottom of the academic hierarchy…

  3. Mark M. Says:

    Dr. Noah! Congratulations!!!! Time to celebrate SoCal style!

  4. scott Says:

    Dr. Wardrip-Fruin, congrats! Sorry we’ll miss the wedding, but hope to see you in person in California or Europe before too long.

  5. Ian Bogost Says:

    Congratulations! And I look forward to sharing a proper celebratory beverage in person in LA this week.

  6. andrew Says:

    Excellent — I’m looking forward to reading the dissertation, and your wedding. Brazil, Russia and India sound fabulous; to think I was excited about travelling to Boston to visit family this month…

  7. noah Says:

    Thanks so much!

    The wedding will be a major life transition on its own, so adding the doctorate, the new location, and the new job is quite a combination.

    As for the doctorate, while I can share the dissertation title (Expressive Processing: On Process-Intensive Literature and Digital Media) I can’t yet share the abstract — because I haven’t written it. The final dissertation text is due to Brown later this month, and in between now and then I have to make a few edits requested by the committee, write an abstract, fill out some forms, etc. But I do plan on sharing more of the dissertation when I can.

    Meanwhile, tomorrow morning I fly back to California for another family event. But, really, I’ll start trying to answer some of that neglected email soon…

  8. Fox Harrell Says:

    Hearty congratulations Noah! For all of your news and many life changing steps. I wish you and your future wife all of the best. I look forward to your arrival in San Diego. Boa sorte! Muito felicidades, as possibilidades não têm limite!

  9. michael Says:

    Congrats Noah! Looking forward to your wedding, and to being fellow games and new media faculty within the UC.

  10. Vika Says:

    Wonderful news all around, Noah. Again, congratulations, and enjoy the next few months’ (years’?) excitement!

  11. Rita R Says:

    Congratulations, Noah! I can’t wait to read the diss. And welcome to California all over again…

  12. noah Says:

    Okay, I’m writing the abstract today, and open to any comments folks have on the draft below. The maximum length is 350 words — so I have one to spare, if needed…


    Most studies of digital media focus on elements familiar from traditional media. For example, studies of digital literature generally focus on surface texts, relationships between texts, audiences, and so on. If interaction is considered, it is only from the audience’s perspective. This study argues that such approaches fail to interpret the element that defines digital media — computational processes. An alternative approach is proposed here, focused on interpreting the internal operations of works. It is hoped that this will become a complement to (rather than replacement for) previous approaches.

    The examples considered include both processes developed as general practices (especially within natural language generation) and those of specific works. A detailed survey of story generation begins with the processes of James Meehan’s Tale-Spin, interpreted through “possible worlds” theories of fiction (especially as employed by digital theorists Marie-Laure Ryan, Jill Walker, and Jesper Juul) and compared with the results of Jay David Bolter, Janet Murray, and Espen Aarseth. Other story generation systems discussed include Scott Turner’s Minstrel; Michael Lebowitz’s Universe; Selmer Bringsjord and David Ferrucci’s Brutus; and Michael Mateas, Steffi Domike, and Paul Vanouse’s Terminal Time. A parallel discussion considers dreams of automatic authorship within the artificial intelligence community.

    This study also provides the first detailed consideration of Christopher Strachey’s love letter generator for the Manchester Mark I — likely the first work of digital literature, and arguably the first digital art of any kind. In addition, this study considers works with algorithmic processes carried out by authors and audiences (rather than within the works) including: Raymond Queneau’s One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems (and other work of the Oulipo), Tristan Tzara’s newspaper poem, and Claude Shannon’s n-gram text generation. The operational logics driving non-player characters in the computer game Fable (developed by Lionhead Studios and Big Blue Box) are also discussed.

    Prior theoretical concepts are engaged, including Mateas’s “expressive AI,” Aarseth’s “cybertext,” and Chris Crawford’s “process intensity.” A set of concepts and vocabulary are proposed, beginning with the simple distinction between “surface,” “data,” and “process.” Further chapters introduce the terms “implemented processes,” “abstract processes,” “operational logics,” and “works of process.”

  13. Walter Says:

    Michael: Does this mean you’re leaving GATech? What UC will you be teaching at?

    Noah: Congratulations! Definitely looking forward to reading your dissert.

  14. Magy Seif El-Nasr Says:


  15. noah Says:

    Hey folks — thanks again for the congratulations, and for the feedback on the abstract via email and IM. I’ll be posting more when I’m back from Brazil.

  16. michael Says:

    Walter, yes I am leaving Tech for UC Santa Cruz.

  17. Grand Text Auto » Expressive Processing Says:

    […] a>

    July 15, 2006

    Expressive Processing
    by noah @ 12:17 pm

    With my early-summer plans completed, I’ve just posted a copy of my dissertation — Expre […]

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