Thread Count Automation Project (TCAP) Timeline (2007-2014)

2007 / TCAP founded by Rick Johnson (Cornell) following success with one-dimensional Fourier transform in counting threads crossing a test line drawn on a digitized x-radiograph of a van Gogh painting in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum.

2008 / Cornell students supervised by Rick Johnson compose computer-assisted hand count dataset for 1000 two cm squares extracted from x-radiographs of van Gogh paintings used to determine winning algorithms among those provided by teams from University of Wisconsin, WPI, and Rice University.

2009 / As architect of winning thread-counting software (based on two-dimensional Fourier transform), Don Johnson (Rice) joins Rick Johnson as co-director of TCAP.

2009 / First published weave maps and weave pattern match presented at annual AIC meeting.

2009 / First TCAP annual report distributed.

2010 / Rob Erdmann (Arizona) joins Rick Johnson and Don Johnson as a co-director of TCAP and adds his big data computing/visualization skills - including composite image stitching software.

2010 / The relationship between weave matches and rollmate status described at annual AIC meeting.

2010 / Second TCAP annual report distributed.

2011 / First journal paper on utility of spectral-based thread counting appears in Studies in Conservation.

2011 / TCAP status report indicating reorganization by museum/artist/project rather than technical tasks in response to expanding workload, as the number of paintings examined exceeds 600.

2011 / Weave maps from TCAP included in new on-line catalog of impressionists at Art Institute of Chicago.

2012 / First papers appear in art history journals - The Burlington Magazine and the Metropolitan Museum Journal - illustrating the art historical uses of automated thread counting and weave matching in studies of paintings by van Gogh, Velazquez, and Vermeer.

2013 / A full description of the algorithms used for thread counting and weave matching is published in the technical journal Signal Processing.

2013 / Rick Johnson and Don Johnson speak on their multi-year effort to "count" van Gogh at the Symposium on "Van Gogh's Studio Practice in Context" in conjunction with the exhibition "Van Gogh at Work" at the Van Gogh Museum.

2013 / Papers on weft snakes and interpreting weave matches appear in on-line conservation journal Art Matters.

2013 / Rick Johnson steps down as a co-director of TCAP to put more time into computational art history for paper, e.g. 20th century photographic paper and laid paper in pre-1750 prints, and Rob Erdmann assumes lead role in TCAP and its extension via advanced visualization tools.

2014 / A dataset of TCAP composites of scanned x-radiographs of 10 paintings on canvas in the collections of the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum is made available through the Netherlands Insitute for Art History, thereby enabling other signal processing researchers to develop their own automated thread counting schemes.