David works on computer vision and machine learning with the end goal of developing autonomous systems that can learn to build representations of the underlying state and dynamics of the world through observation (and potentially interaction).
Towards this end, he is particularly interested in understanding physical and functional properties from images. His research interest in physical properties aims to address how we can recover a rich 3D world from a 2D image. He is especially interested in representations — the answers that are obvious are also obviously defective — as well as how we should reconcile our strong prior knowledge about this structure of the problem with data-driven techniques. In recent work, he has become interested in applying this more broadly in the hope that we can develop AI systems that can learn how the physical world works from observation, including work on solar physics. In functional properties, he is interested in inferring and understanding opportunities for interaction with the environment by both robots and humans, both in terms of how one would learn this and what this implies for a physical understanding of the world.