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Getting to know Hayley Iben

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Video transcript

- When I was young, I really liked some sports like softball and I was the catcher and the first base player and I also liked music. I started playing the flute in the fourth grade and from there I played in the band and I branched out and taught myself tenor saxophone and played that in the jazz band and I was in the marching band and the symphonic band and I was a drum major and lots of different activities with music. It was great. In high school, there were some elective classes that we need to take and my mom was helping me figure out which ones to pick. And she had gone back to school while I was a kid and she had taken a programming class and she suggested that I took one of those to see if I liked it and so that's how I got into it and I already liked computers, I love playing with them. I remember my parents getting our first computer. It was an old 286 and it was just something that was at that point a toy but then learning how to program a computer was really interesting to me and so I started taking computer classes in ninth grade and all through high school. Yeah, I majored in computer science in the liberal arts school and got a Bachelor of Science and I also did a minor in mathematics. I got a Master's and a PhD from UC Berkeley and my Master's was in computational geometry and my thesis was on physically-based simulation for creating crack patterns on surfaces so like mud drawing. I also looked at crackle glass and so that's a way to create crack patterns in class and use that for cups and bowls and things like that. In my internship, I ended up working on an inverse kinematics problem with Andy Weken who was my mentor and the research group. Let's pretend I wanna animate my arm and I would wanna grab my wrist and move it here and what inverse kinematics does is it would solve to figure out what are the angles that I'd have to move my elbow joint and my shoulder joint to hit the target which is where my wrist is. It's really exciting for me to watch the finished movie for Brave. I worked on a lot of the technology that was used to animate the characters and to do the hair simulator. I wrote the inverse kinematic system that was used to move the horses and move the humans. I spent a lot of time trying to make sure that posing tool was right and having that and have Merida's hair fill up the entire screen was incredibly satisfying and to see how beautiful it all turned out. And while I was writing those tools, I got scheduled to do an interview with another co-worker for the simulation group because they were looking for a new simulation person and the person who left had done fluids and other types of simulation work that wasn't an area that I was familiar with so I hadn't even thought about this work, this job opening and I think it had been open for about a year when we were talking about it. They were having a hard time filling this position and the person we were interviewing was doing a Master's thesis and he was implementing some of my PhD thesis and so after the interview, my co-worker said, he turned to me and said, "Why aren't you applying for this job?" That was really a point in my career to really sit and think like, "Huh, why I aren't I applying for this job?" And so I really gave it some consideration and decided and was like, "Yeah, I do wanna apply for this job." And it's always a little bit scary when you try to do something new but it was definitely worth it. I didn't listen to the people that were saying, "Oh, you should be doing this instead," because you should do what your heart tells you and even if it's scary, you should go ahead and do it.