IST Meeting of the Minds

The IST Meeting of the Minds (MotM) is our department's annual showcase held in conjunction with Caltech Alumni Reunion Weekend. The Caltech CMS Community, from undergrads to faculty, present their research through keynote talks, demos, and a poster session. Several hundred alums and CMS Partner Program members attend, so it’s a terrific opportunity to get to know both our department and the broader Caltech Community.

Information about the 2019 IST Meeting of the Minds will be posted in early Spring. Stay tuned!

Recap: IST Meeting of the Minds 2018

For a recap of MotM 2017, click here.
For a recap of MotM 2016, click here.

This year’s IST Meeting of the Minds took place on Friday, May 18th from 2:00-5:00p.m. in and around the Annenberg Center on Caltech’s campus. The event kicked off with a keynote by Hao Li, the CEO & Co-Founder of Pinscreen, Inc. Following the keynote, there was an outdoor poster demo session with plenty of food and music!

Meeting of the Minds 2018 Meeting of the Minds 2018 Meeting of the Minds 2018



Speaker: Hao Li
2:00-3:00 pm in Annenberg 105

Hao Photorealistic Human Digitization and Rendering using Deep Learning
The age of immersive technologies has created a growing need for processing detailed visual representations of ourselves as virtual and augmented reality is growing into the next generation platform for online communication. A natural simulation of our presence in such virtual world is unthinkable without a photorealistic 3D digitization of ourselves. In visual effects and gaming, compelling CG characters can already be produced using state-of-the-art 3D capture technologies combined with the latest real-time rendering engines. However, the creation of high-quality digital assets are still bounded by expensive and time-consuming production pipelines, and creating photorealistic results still requires authoring tasks that can only be achieved by skilled digital artists. We propose a deep learning approach to this high-dimensional reconstruction and rendering problem by introducing new convolutional neural networks and architectures, that can process 3D data, and synthesize images from 3D input with intuitive user controls. I will showcase our latest research in photorealistic 3D face digitization, expression generation, as well as hair modeling and rendering. This presentation will open up the question in whether a deep learning-based synthesis approach could potentially displace conventional graphics rendering pipelines.

Hao Li is CEO/Co-Founder of Pinscreen, assistant professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California, and the director of the Vision and Graphics Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. Hao's work in Computer Graphics and Computer Vision focuses on digitizing humans and capturing their performances for immersive communication and telepresence in virtual worlds. His research involves the development of novel geometry processing, data-driven, and deep learning algorithms. He is known for his seminal work in non-rigid shape alignment, real-time facial performance capture, hair digitization, and dynamic full body capture. He was previously a visiting professor at Weta Digital, a research lead at Industrial Light & Magic / Lucasfilm, and a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia and Princeton Universities. He was named top 35 innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review in 2013 and was also awarded the Google Faculty Award, the Okawa Foundation Research Grant, as well as the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Early Career Chair. He won the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award in 2018. Hao obtained his PhD at ETH Zurich and his MSc at the University of Karlsruhe (TH).

Poster Session

3:00-5:00 pm in the Annenberg outdoor vicinity

Over 80 poster and demo presentations were featured with music, food, and cold drinks to beat the heat! In addition, awards were presented to the recipients of the CMS departmental awards/prizes, and CMS recipients of divisional and Institute awards were also recognized. The list of CMSers who received departmental, divisional, and Institute awards this year is below.

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Thank you to all who presented! We’re looking forward to another great lineup next year!

2018 Award Winners

CMS Departmental Awards

Bhansali Family Dissertation Prize in Computer Science
Awarded to honor outstanding dissertations in computer science, broadly defined, during the current academic year.

  • Xiaoqi Ren
The Ben P.C. Chou Doctoral Prize in Information Science and Technology
Recognizes outstanding doctoral dissertations in the broad area of information science and technology.
  • Chun-Lin Liu
Bhansali Family Prize in Computer Science
Awarded for outstanding undergraduate research in computer science in the current academic year.
  • Chloe Ching-Yun Hsu
  • Jalex Stark
Microsoft Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching Prizes Awarded for outstanding teaching and course development in computing and mathematical sciences.
  • Ellen Feldman (Graduate)
  • Maitreyi Ashok and Zachary Domanico (Undergraduate)
CMS Undergrad/Grad Recipients of EAS Division & Institute Awards

Jack E. Froehlich Memorial Award
Awarded to a junior in the upper five percent of his or her class who shows outstanding promise for a creative professional career.
  • Hyung Ju (Terry) Suh
George W. Housner Prize for Academic Excellence and Original Research
Given to a senior in the upper 20 percent of his or her class who has demonstrated excellence in scholarship and in the preparation of an outstanding piece of original scientific research.
  • Matthew Weidner
Mari Peterson Ligocki ‘81 Memorial Fund Award
Awarded to one student who through his or her personal character, has improved the quality of student life at Caltech. It recognizes the student who provides quiet support and kind encouragement to peers.
  • Nicholas Trank
Student Life and Master’s Award
Presented to undergraduates whose concern for their fellow students has been demonstrated by persistent efforts to improve the quality of undergraduate life and by effective communication with members of the faculty and administration.
  • Umesh Padia (one of a few awardees)
Robert L. Noland Leadership Award
Awarded to upperclass students who exhibit special qualities of leadership.
  • Rachael Morton
Fredrick J. Zeigler Memorial Award
Awarded to a pure or applied mathematics student in his or her sophomore or junior year, recognizing excellence in scholarship as demonstrated in class activities or in the preparation of an original paper or essay in any subject area.
  • Leyu (Natalie) Yao