In accordance with UC Santa Barbara's COVID-19 response, Media Arts and Technology is closed to walk in traffic. We are conducting business remotely and can be reached via email. For a list of faculty and staff, please go to our Media Arts and Technology Directory.

For information about Covid-19 related research ramp up policies, see:

COVID-19 Information for the UC Santa Barbara Campus

Media Arts and Technology

Graduate Program

University of California Santa Barbara


Learning from AlphaGo: How will AI transform architecture?


"The ideas that are driving AlphaGo are going to drive our future."
AlphaGo documentary

"AlphaGo showed us that moves humans may have thought are creative were actually conventional."
Lee Sedol, following match with AlphaGo

"Overnight, China plunged into an artificial intelligence fever. . . AlphaGo was China’s Sputnik moment."
Kai-Fu Lee

Seldom has a game had such a profound impact on the world. In 2016 a match of Go took place between leading Korean Go player, Lee Sedol, and AlphaGo, an AI program developed by DeepMind of London. Few had expected AlphaGo to beat one of the world’s leading Go players, given the complexity of a board game where there are more potential moves than atoms in the universe. But AlphaGo comfortably beat its human opponent. Moreover, AlphaGo played a series of strategically brilliant moves never seen before. The match transformed the game of Go forever, but its overall impact was felt even more broadly. AlphaGo had demonstrated that AI could outperform human beings at a highly complex challenge, and caused a seismic shock – a wakeup call – for China and Korea, two countries where Go is a national game, prompting both countries to invest heavily in AI research.

How will the ideas behind AlphaGo – and AI in general – transform the discipline of architecture? Learning from AlphaGo draws comparisons between the ideas behind AlphaGo and the startling ways in which AI is already being used to transform the profession: AI is automatically generating novel architectural designs, and outperforming architects in urban planning; AI is controlling our environmental systems and sorting out all our traffic jams; AI is teaching robotic arms to stack bricks and build walls; and clients have even begun to insist on architects using AI to guarantee their return on investment. The AI revolution has already begun.

In 1972 Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steve Izenour published Learning from Las Vegas. 50 years later, it is clear that AI is going to transform architecture more radically than Las Vegas ever could. It is now time to learn from AlphaGo.



Neil Leach is a British architect and professor. He currently teaches at FIU, EGS and Tongji, and taught previously at AA, Harvard GSD, Columbia, Cornell and SCI-Arc. He has been a NASA research fellow, developing 3D printing technologies for the Moon and Mars, and is an academician within the Academy of Europe. He has published over 40 books on architecture and digital theory. His books include Rethinking Architecture (Routledge, 1997), Designing for a Digital World (Wiley, 2002); Digital Tectonics (Wiley, 2004); Camouflage (MIT Press, 2006); Digital Cities (Wiley, 2009); Space Architecture (Wiley, 2014); Swarm Intelligence (TongjiUP, 2017); Computational Design (TongjiUP, 2017); Digital Fabrication (TongjiUP, 2017); Architectural Intelligence (Springer, 2020); Material Intelligence (Springer, 2021); Architecture in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (Bloomsbury, 2021) and Machine Hallucinations: Architecture and AI (Wiley, 2022).

For more information about the MAT Seminar Series, go to:


Cangjie’s Poetry

Humans and machines are in constant conversations. Intelligent machines today are not only observers of the world, but they also make creative decisions. If AI imitates human beings to generate a symbolic system and actively communicate with us based on their own understandings of the universe, to what degree do their messages and meanings recontextualize our coexistence?


Cangjie’s Poetry Best in Show Award, SIGGRAPH 2021 Art Gallery Program.

UCSB alumni Donghao Ren (PhD Computer Science) collaborated on this project.


Astro examines our Earth, the only astronomical object known to harbor life, from the perspective of intelligent beings in outer space.

Weilu Ge (sound) and Shaoyu Su (3D artist) collaborated on this project.

Astro was also exhibited at the Shenzhen Museum of Contemporay Light’s opening show in April, 2021. The artwork was adapted so that it could be projected onto the exterior facade of the museum.


Astro at the Shenzhen Museum of Contemporay Light’s opening show.

Shenzhen City Light Art Museum's opening show


Repository examines digital data authorship, ownership, transformation and longevity.



Athens Digital Arts Festival

Volume of Voids II


Volume of Voids II

In collaboration with Shaoyu Su.


Professor Kuchera-Morin and Dr. Rincon will be joined by Jean Johnstone of UC Berkeley, and will evaluate the impact of arts, culture and entertainment to the future of California.

About the California 100 Research Grants

California 100 is a new statewide initiative being incubated at the University of California and Stanford University focused on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next century that is innovative, sustainable, and equitable. The initiative will harness the talent of a diverse array of leaders through research, policy innovation, advanced technology, and stakeholder engagement. As part of its research stream of work, California 100 is sponsoring 13 research projects focused on the following issue areas:

  • Advanced technology and basic research
  • Arts, culture, and entertainment
  • Education
  • Economic mobility, inequality and workforce
  • Energy, environment and natural resources
  • Federalism and foreign policy
  • Fiscal reform
  • Governance, media, and civil society
  • Health and wellness
  • Housing and community development
  • Immigrant integration
  • Public safety and criminal justice reform
  • Transportation and urban planning

California 100 Initiative

Institute for the Future


JoAnn Kuchera-Morin


Gustavo Alfonso Rincon

This year's virtual conference is from October 24-29. Congratulations to Hannah Wolfe, Solen Kiratli, Sihwa Park, Lena Mathew, Weidi Zhang and Donghao Ren for their contributions to the 2021 International Conference on Computer Vision Theory and Applications.

IEEE VIS App 2021 Intro Video

Mark will work with scientists to create artworks that investigate and illuminate topics that deal with the basic building blocks of the universe. His focus at UCSB has been projects that are generative, collaborative, technologically-based and visually intriguing.


Beutiful Data, article in the UCSB Current

EmissionControl2 is a granular sound synthesizer. The theory of granular synthesis is described in the book Microsound (Curtis Roads, 2001, MIT Press).

Released in October 2020, the new app was developed by a team consisting of Professor Curtis Roads acting as project manager, with software developers Jack Kilgore and Rodney Duplessis. Kilgore is a computer science major at UCSB. Duplessis is a PhD student in music composition at UCSB and is also pursuing a Masters degree in the Media Arts and Technology graduate program.

EmissionControl2 is free and open-source software available at:

The project was supported by a Faculty Research Grant from the UCSB Academic Senate.

Past News  


Exhibition Catalogs

End of Year Show

About MAT

Media Arts and Technology (MAT) at UCSB is a transdisciplinary graduate program that fuses emergent media, computer science, engineering, electronic music and digital art research, practice, production, and theory. Created by faculty in both the College of Engineering and the College of Letters and Science, MAT offers an unparalleled opportunity for working at the frontiers of art, science, and technology, where new art forms are born and new expressive media are invented.

In MAT, we seek to define and to create the future of media art and media technology. Our research explores the limits of what is possible in technologically sophisticated art and media, both from an artistic and an engineering viewpoint. Combining art, science, engineering, and theory, MAT graduate studies provide students with a combination of critical and technical tools that prepare them for leadership roles in artistic, engineering, production/direction, educational, and research contexts.

The program offers Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Media Arts and Technology. MAT students may focus on an area of emphasis (multimedia engineering, electronic music and sound design, or visual and spatial arts), but all students should strive to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and work with other students and faculty in collaborative, multidisciplinary research projects and courses.

Alumni Testimonials