Carnegie Mellon University has a rich tradition of interdisciplinary research that enables the university to advance into new fields. Raj Reddy, the former dean of the School of Computer Science, had the initial realization that CMU possessed the ability to help define the field of entertainment technology. Specifically, two interdisciplinary efforts at Carnegie Mellon University helped set the foundation for the ETC.
Don Marinelli left his position as Associate Head of Drama to work with the Computer Science Informedia digital video project that created Synthetic Interviews which allowed users to interview historical and fictional characters.
Randy Pausch returned to Carnegie Mellon University, his alma mater, bringing his Alice rapid prototyping software with which he started 'Building Virtual Worlds,' possibly the most broadly cross-disciplinary course at Carnegie Mellon. This popular course put artists and technologists together to build virtual reality world experiences.
These two early efforts helped demonstrate how computer scientists and artists could work together to develop new forms of digital entertainment, and the Entertainment Technology Center was formally established in the Fall of 1998. The ETC was founded as a joint program between the School of Computer Science and the College of Fine Arts with Co-Directors Don Marinelli, a Professor of Drama, and Randy Pausch, a Professor of Computer Science, helping to illustrate the educational and professional mission of the ETC.
The ETC commenced formal operations in the fall of 1999 with a pilot class of eight Carnegie Mellon University seniors. Since then, the ETC has grown stature and scope. Currently, ETC-Global has multiple locations around the world, reflecting the international reach of the entertainment technology field. ETC-Global is simply different. With an emphasis on leadership, innovation and communication, students work on interdisciplinary projects that provide challenging experiences through which they learn how to collaborate, experiment, and iterate solutions. Through these innovative projects and the ETC alumni in the industry, the ETC has truly helped to define the field of entertainment technology.