Peter Stucki was a full professor and deputy head of the Department of Informatics as well as Dean of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics. He was the head of the MultiMedia Laboratory research group.
Peter Stucki studied electrical engineering at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich (ETH), and received his diploma degree in 1964. Then he continued his education with postgraduate studies at the Imperial College London, where he received a diploma degree in telecommunication in 1967. In 1967, he returned to Switzerland and joined the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory in Rüschlikon, where he started working on digital image processing. At the same time, he pursued his doctoral studies at ETH and received a PhD degree in 1970.
At IBM Research, Peter Stucki became a pioneer in research on digital image processing, a challenging endeavor at that time without digital imaging devices and scarce computing resources. Peter Stucki started with work on grey tone images. His first paper, published as a short note in IEEE Transactions on Computers, was about a method for generating grey tone images with eight levels of grey on line printers by systematic overprinting of characters. Peter Stucki's work at IBM Research resulted in numerous papers, patents and awards, including an algorithm that bears his name, Stucki Dithering, and an IBM Outstanding Innovation Award for Digital Image Processing Algorithms. During his time at IBM Research, he also had assignments to the IBM Labs in Böblingen, Germany and San Jose, California.
In 1985, Peter Stucki became a professor at the University of Zurich. He joined the Department of Informatics and founded the MultiMedia Lab (MML). The research in his lab concentrated on virtual reality and, as he called it, real virtuality, i.e., the physical reconstruction of digital, three-dimensional images. However, the research that he performed with his numerous PhD students and postdocs at the MML also included other multimedia topics, for example, face and gesture recognition, digital film analysis, high quality text, scientific visualization, a multimedia software framework, and digital music, to name just a few.
In the early 90s, the MML was also among the first academic labs exploiting high-performance 3D computer graphics workstations like the Onyx with its RealityEngine graphics hardware accelerators from SGI in VR research projects.
Research in the MML led to groundbreaking results. The physical reconstruction of digital image models with stereolithography paved the way for what we now know as 3D printing. The digital anthropology work on reconstructing Neandertal skulls with digital image models and physically reconstructed parts made it to the cover of the Nature journal in August 2001.
For many years, Peter Stucki had served as a deputy head of the Department of Informatics. Additionally, from 1998 to 2002, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics. He was the first dean who served for more than two years and who had a vision and a roadmap for how to develop the faculty. He re-organized and professionalized the Dean’s office, created the Faculty Board, enabled the foundation of Finance as an academic program in the faculty and initiated the implementation of the Bologna reform.
Peter Stucki was also interested in multimedia-enabled, digital teaching. In 2000, he became the president of the steering committee of Swiss Virtual Campus (SVC), a Swiss federal program which aimed at the promotion of Internet-based learning at the higher education institutions in Switzerland. He also served as the head of the advisory board Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern (VHB) and was a member of the scientific advisory board of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.
After his retirement, he continued serving for the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics as an ombudsperson and delegate for scientific integrity for many years.
Peter Stucki suddenly and unexpectedly died on March 27, 2020. All who have known him in his professional life will remember him as an outstanding, pioneering researcher, an energetic and dynamic dean, an engaged academic teacher, and a wonderful colleague.
Martin Glinz, full professor emeritus, Department Head 2007-2016
Renato Pajarola, full professor, Department Head 2018-present