Karl Sims received a B.S. in life sciences from MIT in 1984. After working at Thinking Machines Corporation for a year, he returned to MIT to study computer graphics at the Media Lab and received a Masters degree in 1987. He then joined the R&D effort at Whitney/Demos Productions for one year, and later became the Director of Research and co-founder of Hollywood based Optomystic. He currently works part time at Optomystic and part time at Thinking Machines Corporation as a consultant, writing parallel software for computer graphics and animation.
"Particle Dreams" is a collection of four short dream sequences: swirling fire, a snowstorm, a tumultuous head, and a splashing waterfall. They were created using a data-parallel particle rendering and animation system written for the Connection Machine CM-2, a parallel supercomputer containing between 8K and 64K processors.
A particle behavior language was used to combine dynamic simulations with kinematically controlled motions and create realistic looking movements as well as unrealistic ones. Each particle in motion was assigned its own virtual processor such that thousands of particles could all be animated and rendered simultaneously.