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News and Events

  • June 2018:       Alumnae Hasti Seifi Receives 2017 EuroHaptics Society PhD Thesis Award. UBC Computer Science alumnae Dr. Hasti Seifi is the winner of the 2017 EuroHaptics Society PhD Thesis Award for the best Ph.D. thesis in the field of haptics. The award honors research she conducted at UBC's Department of Computer Science, where she completed her doctorate under the supervision of Professor Karon E. MacLean. Only one person is selected for this award each year, and the winning thesis is chosen based on its scientific quality and expected impact on the field. During Dr. Seifi's time at UBC, she played a leadership role in various outreach activities to support women in Computer Science, including being the coordinator of the GIRLsmarts4tech program. She received her PhD from UBC Computer Science in 2017 and is currently a postdoc at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart.
  • May 2018:       Graduate students Francesco Vitale, Izabelle Janzen and Professor Joanna McGrenere receive 2018 CHI Best Paper Award. They presented their paper, titled “Hoarding and Minimalism: Tendencies in Digital Data Preservation” at CHI in Montréal, from April 21-26. The award is given to the top 1% of all paper submissions. The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems is typically considered to be the top conference in the field of Human Computer Interaction.
  • March 2018:       Ph.D student Boris Dalstein is the recipient of the 2017 Alain Fournier Ph.D. Dissertation Award. This is awarded for an exceptional computer graphics Ph.D. dissertation defended in a Canadian University in 2017. His dissertation, entitled “Topological Modeling for Vector Graphics”, makes substantial contributions to the theory of vector graphics topology and introduces new data structures and algorithms for their representation and modeling. Vector graphics is a core technology at the heart of creating and displaying many images, as it provides a resolution-independent image representation. It is widely used in everyday tools such as Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, and Postscript. His UBC Ph.D. dissertation was supervised by Professor Michiel van de Panne. UBC students have won the award 7 times since it was established 13 years ago. More information can be found here .
  • March 2018:       Alla Sheffer has received a 2018 CHCCS/SCDHM Achievement Award from the Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society, for numerous highly impactful contributions to the field of computer graphics research. Full details can be found here . As stated on the webpage, “Dr. Sheffer’s diverse research addresses geometric modeling and processing problems both in traditional computer graphics settings and in multiple other application domains, including product design, mechanical and civil engineering, and fashion. She has made major contributions to core geometry processing topics, including hexahedral meshing and developable surface manipulation. Her mesh parameterization methods, particularly her ABF (angle-based flattening) algorithm, are referenced in every book and every survey on geometry processing and are taught in many advanced modeling courses worldwide.”
  • February 2018:       Alumnae Hasti Seifi is awarded an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDF). The NSERC PDF Program provides support to a small group of highly promising researchers at a pivotal time in their careers, and is intended to secure a supply of highly qualified Canadians with leading edge scientific and research skills for Canadian industry, government and universities. Hasti is holding the award at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany, collaborating with the UBC CS professor Karon MacLean on an international research project. The goal of the project is to synthesize an interactive visual database of haptic devices by engaging expert hapticians all over the world. During her PhD studies at UBC Computer Science, Hasti made invaluable contribution to improving student life in the department, first serving as the GIRLsmarts4tech coordinator from 2012 to 2014, and then as the department’s TA training coordinator from 2014 to 2016. She received a Computer Science Department Service Award in 2015 and a Maria Klawe Endowment Award in 2017. More information on the Max Planck Institute Award here .
  • January 2018:       Professor Tamara Munzner won a best paper honorable mention award at the IEEE Conference on Information Visualization with current collaborators and UBC alumni Heidi Lam and Melanie Tory of Tableau Research. Their paper "Bridging From Goals to Tasks with Design Study Analysis Reports" was presented at InfoVis in Phoenix AZ from Oct 1-6 2017, whose proceedings are published as a special issue of IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. Further details can be found here .
  • November 2017:       Professor Dinesh Pai and his colleagues, Drs. Miriam Spering and Mary-Lou Jackson, are the recipients of the Wall Solutions Grant. The grant supports UBC faculty members collaborating with community or partner organizations to address societal issues through innovative and academically rigorous research. The team will be using the $50,000 grant to develop a portable dynamic vision test designed specifically for the aging population. Vision loss among the elderly is a major health care challenge. In Canada, the direct cost of vision loss is the highest of any disease category. Standard vision tests do not measure sensitivity to moving objects, an ability that is critical for everyday tasks such as driving. The new technology enables quick assessment of motion sensitivity, using instinctive eye movement responses. More information on the project here .
  • September 2017:       Congratulations to Professor Joanna McGrenere, who is inducted into the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. The scholars were selected based on excellence in intellectual leadership in their field of research. Joanna is recognized as one of the top mid-career scholars in Canada in the field of Computer Science. There were 70 new scholars elected. Joanna was one of six from UBC, and one of three from Computer Science/Computer Engineering.
  • August 2017:       M.Sc. student Xue Bin Peng, together with his supervisor, Professor Michiel van de Panne, won the Best Student Paper Award at the ACM SIGGRAPH / EG Symposium on Computer Animation (SCA), for their paper "Learning Locomotion Skills Using DeepRL: Does the Choice of Action Space Matter?". The conference was held in Los Angeles, July 28-30, 2017. Further details can be found here .
  • July 2017:       PhD student Felix Heide is the recipient of the 2017 ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Only one award is given annually to recognize researchers who have made notable contributions during their doctoral study. Felix' core research interests lie in computational imaging and display, which promises to revolutionize both imaging and display technologies through the introduction of computation, thereby enabling more robust, less expensive, and more portable optical devices. Moreover, it allows for completely new imaging modalities that were not possible previously. Felix in particular has focused on computational imaging topics with interesting inverse problems that can be solved as optimization problems, relying on both prior knowledge of the physical image formation process as well as statistical image priors. As such, Felix has made major contributions to the development of flexible computational photography pipelines. Based on his earliest work on a cross-channel color image prior for image reconstruction tasks (ACM TOG 2013), Felix developed a flexible image signal processor (FlexISP) framework for solving a wide range of low-level image reconstruction problems (including de-mosaicking, HDR reconstruction, and burst denoising) using a single, but modular optimization framework. The astonishing result for this work, which was published at Siggraph Asia 2014, was that this one framework could be applied to very exotic camera designs, while at the same time outperforming the best dedicated algorithms on standard designs. The culmination of this line of research is a domain-specific language specifically designed for the these types of optimization problems in imaging (Siggraph 2016). Much of this work is currently being commercialized by Montreal-based startup company Algolux which Felix co-founded. A second major part of Felix' research activities has be the use of similar non-convex optimization methods to time-of-flight sensors. The first paper in this line of work (published at Siggraph 2013), showed that inexpensive time-of-flight cameras are useful for imaging the propagation of light in environments (i.e light-in-flight, or transient imaging). This work was followed up by investigating specific applications, including cameras that ``look around corners'', i.e. imaging and 3D reconstruction outside the direct line of sight (CVPR Oral 2014), imaging in scattering media (Optics Express 2014), Doppler velocity imaging (i.e. turning each pixel in a PMD camera into a Lidar gun, Siggraph 2015), and multi-camera ToF systems (Siggraph 2016). Felix has been exceptionally productive during his PhD. He has been the first-author on one article in Nature Scientific Reports, 7 ACM TOG articles (5 Siggraph, 1 Siggraph Asia, 1 TOG), 2 CVPR papers (both orals), and 2 Optics Express articles. This is without counting the many papers where he was not the first author but still made significant contributions, or the publications in second-tier venues. Felix Heide received his BSc (2010) and MSc (2012) degrees in Computer Science from the University of Siegen. He received his Ph.D. in December 2016 at the University of British Columbia under the advisement of Professor Wolfgang Heidrich. Since January 2017, he is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Stanford University.
  • April 2017:      Jessica Dawson is the recipient of a 2016-2017 UBC Faculty of Science Killam Teaching Prize, UBC’s most prestigious teaching award. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to improving the teaching and learning environment in our undergraduate programs, and is awarded to a small handful of faculty members in Science each year. In addition to her achievements and enthusiasm for teaching in her own courses, Jessica has made significant contributions through her collaborations with fellow faculty members on several course improvement efforts across the department in her role as a Science Teaching and Learning Fellow under the Carl Wieman initiative.

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