Creating the Vision

Teaching computers to see like we do

The IU Computer Vision Lab investigates and develops advanced statistical and machine learning techniques to analyze, understand, and organize visual information. Applications of the lab’s work include recognizing objects in consumer images, analyzing human activity in video, discovering patterns in large scientific datasets, reconstructing 3-D models of world landmarks, and even studying visual attention in toddlers.

The goal of computer vision is for computers to be able to understand the visual world the way people do. Computers have been able to take and store pictures for decades, but they haven’t been able to know what is in a photo—what objects and people are in it, what is going on, and what is about to happen. People do this automatically, almost instantly, thinking nothing of it, but that process is difficult for a computer.

David Crandall’s research with computer vision and machine learning is improving the way computers and robots think. Crandall, an associate professor of informatics and computing at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University Bloomington, is also director of the Computer Vision Lab, a hub of AI work at the university.


Computers are really good at fast, precise calculations, and they are really good at storing huge amounts of data. What they aren’t good at is making subjective comparisons between things.

David Crandall - IU Associate Professor of Informatics and Computing at the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering; Director, IU Computer Vision Lab