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Demetri Terzopoulos – The Computer Simulation of People: From Biomechanics to Intelligence

Date: January 10, 2017
Time: 11am
Place: Senate Chambers, Ross N940
Focus Session: LAS 3033

Graduate students and postdocs who wish to attend the focus session should send the IC@L Admin, Ms Cimoan Atkins (, an email with their name, supervisor, and any dietary concerns – (lunch will be provided).

Title: The Computer Simulation of People: From Biomechanics to Intelligence

Demetri Terzopoulos
University of California, Los Angeles

The computer simulation of people is a grand challenge problem with potentially profound impact across multiple disciplines. In the field of computer graphics, it is especially relevant to the animation of realistic human characters for a variety of applications in the interactive computer game and motion picture industries. In this context, I will overview our progress on realistic human modeling and simulation, whose scope spans the biomechanical, behavioral, and social levels. In particular, I will review our state-of-the-art work on the musculoskeletal physics-based simulation and neuromuscular control of the human body, as well as our artificial life approach to multi-human simulation yielding 3D virtual worlds populated by lifelike autonomous pedestrians with some proper social etiquette. Finally, I will discuss the profound scientific and computational challenges that remain in comprehensively simulating humans as individuals and in collectives.


Demetri Terzopoulos is a Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he holds the rank of Distinguished Professor and directs the UCLA Computer Graphics & Vision Laboratory. He graduated from McGill University and received his PhD degree (’84) from MIT. He is or was a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a member of the European Academy of Sciences and New York Academy of Sciences, and a life member of Sigma Xi. His many awards include an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his pioneering work on physics-based computer animation, and the inaugural Computer Vision Distinguished Researcher Award from the IEEE for his pioneering and sustained research on deformable models and their applications. ISI and other indexes list him among the most highly-cited authors in engineering and computer science, with more than 300 published research papers and several volumes, primarily in computer graphics, computer vision, medical imaging, computer-aided design, and artificial intelligence/life. He has given approximately 500 invited talks around the world about his research, including more than 100 distinguished lectures and keynote/plenary addresses. He joined UCLA in 2005 from New York University, where he held the Henry and Lucy Moses Professorship in Science and was Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Previously, he was Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. Before becoming an academic in 1989, he was a Program Leader at Schlumberger corporate research centers in California and Texas.