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Distinguished Lecture: Capturing Realistic Virtual Experiences with Light Fields

Ravi Ramamoorthi: Professor, UC San Diego; Founding Director, UC San Diego Center for Visual Computing

Event Details

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
4-5 p.m.

Abstract: Many applications in e-commerce, video conferencing, virtual avatars, or immersive  photography and virtual/augmented reality seek to capture virtual experiences of objects or scenes from a few photographs.  This can be understood within the context of light fields, the entire 4D spatial and directional field of light flowing across a scene. Capturing the light field from sparse images enables one to synthesize new views, and interact immersively with a scene.

In this talk, I will first discuss depth estimation from light field cameras, as needed for immersive 3D photography.  Light fields enable combination of cues historically treated separately in computer vision, such as correspondence, defocus and shading.  I then discuss a variety of recent approaches to view synthesis and virtual experiences my group has developed, including creating 4D light fields from only 4 corner views or even a single image taken on a standard cellphone, theoretical Nyquist-rate reductions to enable sampling from a sparse set of casually captured views, novel volumetric neural radiance field representations, and light field video.

Biography: Ravi Ramamoorthi is the Ronald L. Graham professor of Computer Science at the University of California, San Diego, and founding Director of the UC San Diego Center for Visual computing.  He received his Ph.D. at Stanford in 2002, and earlier held tenured faculty positions at Columbia University and UC Berkeley. Prof. Ramamoorthi is an author of more than 150 refereed publications in computer graphics and computer vision, including 75+ at ACM SIGGRAPH/TOG, and has played a key role in building multi-faculty research groups that have been recognized as leaders in computer graphics and computer vision at Columbia, Berkeley and UCSD. His research has been recognized with a half-dozen early career awards, including the ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award in computer graphics in 2007, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for his work in physics-based computer vision in 2008.   He was elevated to IEEE and ACM Fellow in 2017, and inducted into the SIGGRAPH Academy in 2019.

Prof. Ramamoorthi's work has had substantial impact in industry, with techniques like spherical harmonic lighting being adopted in industry-standard RenderMan software, and widely used in interactive applications and movie productions. He has graduated more than 20 postdoctoral, Ph.D. and M.S. students, many of whom have taken positions at leading universities or research labs and won leading fellowships and awards, including the ACM SIGGRAPH Doctoral Dissertation Award. He has also taught the first open online course in computer graphics as one of the first nine classes on the edX platform, with more than 100,000 registrations to date and a Chinese translation available via XuetangX. He (and his course) received an inaugural edX Prize certificate for this effort in 2016 and again in 2017, as the only computer science recipient and only course to be recognized twice.