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Building the Open Metaverse: Collaboration with NVIDIA Omniverse

The latest episode of Building the Open Metaverse featured Michael Kass alongside hosts Patrick Cozzi of Cesium and Marc Petit of Epic Games.

Michael Kass is a Senior Distinguished Engineer at NVIDIA and the overall software architect of NVIDIA Omniverse, NVIDIA's platform and pipeline for collaborative 3D content creation. Prior to NVIDIA, he was a Senior Principal Engineer at Intel, a Distinguished Fellow at Magic Leap, a Senior Research Scientist at Pixar, and a Principal Engineer at Apple Computers. Dr. Kass is also a champion juggler, dancer, and the winner of an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement.

Dr. Kass shared the origin of Omniverse, the vision behind USD, and current work on its optimization in a deep technical discussion.

“Our idea of the metaverse is that you're going to have some description of the virtual world, which we think the right way to do that is USD. We think that's the way they connect all the metaverses together. And then, having done that, you want to visualize it in a variety of different ways. So, the science fiction literature is all about virtual reality or augmented reality, but there are people who are going to want to interact with these worlds through traditional desktop screens or tablets or anything else. And we want to support it all,” he said.

Following that, he offered his advice for trying and succeeding at new things: 

“Just expect to be really bad at the new thing when you start it. And don't worry about that. People spend so much of their intellectual and their emotional energy worrying about whether they'll ever succeed at whatever it is, or whether they're being ridiculous, and what people think about them, and if you just avoid that, don't worry about that and just pay attention to what you want to learn and clear your mind of those other thoughts, then it's remarkable how much more progress you can make. So just follow your interest, do it, don't worry, and you'll make a lot more progress than you ever thought you could.”

In conclusion, the conversation turned back to the theme of the podcast and the importance of open standards.

“I think it's really important for it to take off that it's about open standards like we've been talking about. This is way too big an idea for any one company to try to own and it's way too big, there are too many moving pieces. So I'm simultaneously kind of impressed at how much progress we've made so far, and humbled by how much remains to get to the vision that we have. And the only way we can get to where we want to get to is by harnessing the efforts of so many different people and organizations and putting them all together," Kass said.

Listen, watch, or read the full episode, or subscribe to the podcast.