CS Prof. Alla Sheffer wins UBC 2019 Killam Research Prize
Bringing computer modelling to mainstream
Dr. Sheffer’s goal is to make computer modelling methods accessible not only to skilled engineers and product designers, but to a much wider user base including artists, fashion designers, and beyond.
Her influential research has earned Dr. Sheffer a 2019 UBC Faculty Killam Research Prize within the senior category (Science & Applied Science). The prize recognizes UBC faculty who have made outstanding research and scholarly contributions. Winners were selected by UBC’s Faculty ResearchAward Committee, which spans arts and humanities, business, applied science, science, and medicine.
Dr. Sheffer was nominated for her highly impactful contributions to research in the fields of computer graphics and geometric modeling. The innovative algorithms and software tools that she developed, enable expert and amateur users to easily generate computer models of complex real and envisioned shapes. In developing these methods, she takes a highly interdisciplinary approach, applying insights about human perception and communication of shapes as well as algorithmic, user-driven, shape processing and modeling.
“The methods we develop enable designers to create complex models using the interface they’re most familiar with (pen and paper),” explains Sheffer. “Our ultimate goal is to enable users to go directly from a sketch to products that match their vision.”
A series of Sheffer’s recent papers aims to develop such seamless interfaces for modeling diverse geometries, ranging from garments and organic shapes to characters and free-form solid shapes. Two of the sketch-based modeling methods Sheffer developed are patented, and many are widely cited.
Dr. Sheffer’s impact is evidenced in the other awards she’s won like the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award (2018), given in recognition of her highly impactful contributions to research in the field of computer graphics, and an Audi Production Award (2011, joint with her collaborators) received for ideas that have the potential to shape the future of car manufacturing. She’s also won numerous highly competitive industry funding awards from Adobe, IBM, Google and others.
"Our ultimate goal is to enable users to go directly
from a sketch to products that match their vision."
Our congratulations, Dr. Sheffer!