A. Michael Noll | i |
last name: Noll
first name: A. Michael
also known as: Mike Noll
birthday: 1939
birth-place: Newark, New Jersey (USA)

A. MICHAEL NOLL is a Professor Emeritus of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He taught courses in communication systems technology, and he continues to study the policy and social implications of communication technologies. Before joining the Annenberg School in 1984, Dr. Noll had a varied career in basic research (at the Bell Telephone Laboratories Inc. in Murray Hill, New Jersey, since 1961), telecommunication marketing and science policy.

His research has included work in the areas of the effects of media on interpersonal communication, three-dimensional computer graphics, human-machine tactile communication, speech signal processing, and aesthetics.

He is one of the first pioneers in the use of digital computers in the visual arts, and his computer art has been widely exhibited throughout the world. He created his earliest digital computer art in the summer of 1962, and the first public exhibition of his computer art (along with random patterns for studies of recognition, by Dr. Bela Julesz) was put up at the Howard Wise Gallery in New York City from 6 to 24 April, 1965. This was the earliest such exhibition in the United States, and the second world-wide.

(Noll’s pioneering work is documented by a Bell Telephone Laboratories Technical Memorandum of the title “Patterns by 7090” (memo no. MM-62-1234-14, August 28, 1962. The term “7090” here indicates the then popular IBM 7090 mainframe computer in use at Bell, and available to Dr. Noll.)

Noll’s prototypical study of computer-generated ballet was created in the early 1960’s and was the first such use of computers. His experimental study of aesthetic preferences for a computer-generated simulation of a painting by Piet Mondrian has become a classic. In the late 1960 and early 1970’s, he constructed interactive three-dimensional input devices and displays and a three-dimensional, tactile, force-feedback (“feelie”) device. They were the forerunners of devices in use with today’s virtual-reality systems.

His “Computer-Generated Ballet” was the first use of a digital computer to create an animation of stick figures on a virtual stage. In 1968 and 1970, he utilized his four-dimensional computer-animation method to create the title sequences for a movie (“Incredible Machine”) and for a television special (“The Unexplained”) – a very early use of computer animation for generating title sequences.

He has served as the Technical Assistant to the President’s Science Advisor at the White House in the early 1970’s and was involved with computer security and privacy, computer exports, scientific and technical information, educational technology and federal research programs in the USA. He served as the first Co-Chair of a joint USA/USSR program in the application of computers to management.

Dr. Noll has published over ninety-five professional papers covering a wide variety of topics. While at Bell Telephone Laboratoriess, he was granted six patents for his inventions in speech processing and human-machine tactile communication.

He currently writes a column in Telecommunications Online. In addition, Dr. Noll wrote reviews of classical music performances for the Classical New Jersey Society.

Dr. Noll’s works are represented in the permanent collections of the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the USC Fisher Gallery, the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


1961 B.S.E.E. from Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey, USA.
1963 M.E.E. from New York University, New York, USA.
1961 onwards Basic research at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ, for 15 years.
1965 “Computer-Generated Pictures” , with Bela Julesz, (first USA digital computer art exhibit), Howard Wise Gallery, New York City, U.S.A. Works include “Gaussian-Quadratic”, “Vertical-Horizontal Number Three”, “Computer Composition With Lines”, and “Ninety Parallel Sinusoids.”
1965 “Computer-Art Exhibition”, (with Vaughn S. Mason’s analogue computer art), Fall Joint Computer Conference, Las Vegas, U.S.A.
1965 Earliest stereoscopic computer-animated movies, with separate images for the left and right eyes – “Four-Dimensional Hyperobjects” & “Computer-Generated Ballet” .
1967 Participates in “Computergrafik” (organized by Martin Krampen), Galerie im Hause Behr, Stuttgart, and studio f in Ulm, Germany.
1967 “Computer Sight and Sound.” Summit Art Center, Summit, NJ, U.S.A.
1968 Participates in “Computer Graphic”, first show of computer art in Czechoslovakia, at House of Art, Brno, Gallery of Jihlava, and Gallery of Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia (organized by Jiri Valoch)
1968 “Cybernetic Serendipity.” Institute for Contemporary Arts, London, UK.
1968 Composed the main-title animation sequence “Incredible Machine” for award-winning movie by Owen Murphy Productions for the American Telephone & Telegraph Company.
1968 “Tendencije 4.” Galerije Grada Zagreba, Zagreb, Yugoslavia.
1969 “Computer-Kunst” (sponsored by Clarissa Contemporary Art and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Gesellschaft). Kubus Gallery, Hanover, Germany.
1970 Composed the main-title animation sequence “The Unexplained” for Encyclopedia Britannica Special by Lee Mendelson Productions for NBC and colorcast on April 3, 1970.
1970 Received Honorable Mention as an Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer by Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical-engineering honor society, in recognition of his contributions to computer-generated stereographics.
1971 Received a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, New York.
1971 “Arteonica.” Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
1972 “Computer Art.” National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India.
1972 “Computer Art.” Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio,U.S.A.
1975 “Computer Art Exhibit.” Watson Art Gallery, Wheaton College, Amherst, MA, U.S.A
1977 to 1984 Worked for the AT&T Consumer Products and Marketing Department where he performed technical evaluations and did research to quantify the market for teleconferencing.
1979 “Generacion Automatica de Formas Plasticas.” University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
1984 Joined the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California.
1990 Recognised as a Pioneer in recognition of his early work in computer graphics by the Computer Graphics Pioneers of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
1992-93 Dean of the Annenberg School for the academic year, during which time he formulated a broader vision of communication that resulted in a merger of academic units at USC to create a greatly expanded Annenberg School.
1996 Wrote a regular newspaper column in the Newark Star-Ledger.
1994 Awarded a Distinguished Alumni Medal for Outstanding Achievement by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
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