Ravi Ramamoorthi, Associate Professor
of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley
Steve Waskul talks with Professor Ravi Ramamoorthi about the past, present and future of rendering in this exclusive WASKULonTECH interview. There is a focus on interactive rendering, its technical limitations and why it is important to the computer industry.
Info About Professor Ramamoorthi
Ravi Ramamoorthi is currently an associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, since January 2009. He received his BS and MS degrees from the California Institute of Technology in Computer Science and Physics in 1998, and his PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University in 2002. He was an assistant and associate professor in the computer science department at Columbia University from 2002-2008. His research interests are at the interface of computer graphics, computer vision and signal processing. Current projects include sampling and reconstruction for high-dimensional visual appearance datasets in real-time image synthesis and offline rendering, appearance acquisition, animation and imaging; a volumetric digital appearance pipeline for complex materials in computer graphics; physics-based computer vision with realistic lighting and reflectance; and problems in image and video analysis/synthesis at the interface of vision and graphics.
Prof. Ramamoorthi’s research has been recognized with major awards, including the ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award in 2007 for “his groundbreaking work on mathematical representations and computational models for the visual appearance of objects” in computer graphics, and by the White House with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2008 for his work on physics-based computer vision. He has received early career awards from government agencies (NSF Career Award in 2005 and ONR Young Investigator Award in 2007) and private foundations (Sloan Fellowship in 2005 and Okawa Foundation research grant in 2011). He has published more than 90 papers in computer vision and graphics, including more than 40 at ACM SIGGRAPH or TOG, the leading venues in computer graphics. Many of his contributions are widely used in industry. For example, his work on spherical harmonic lighting and importance sampling is now widely used in video games (like Halo) and computer-generated animation for movies (like Avatar); he has consulted with Pixar on inclusion in their pipeline, and the methods are now included in Pixar’s industry standard Renderman 16 software since mid-2011.
Prof. Ramamoorthi has advised more than 20 Postdoctoral, PhD and MS students, many of whom have gone on to leading positions in industry and academia. He has been instrumental in building leading research laboratories at both Columbia (CVGC: Columbia Vision and Graphics Center) and UC Berkeley (Visual Computing Laboratory). He has also been a leader in education, teaching the first open online course in computer graphics, CS 184.1x on EdX in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013, with an enrolment of more than 35,000 students.