Ladislav Kavan Receives NSF CAREER Award

Ladislav KavanLadislav Kavan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science, is a recipient of an NSF CAREER award for his proposal, "Geometric Shape Deformation with Applications in Medicine." The CAREER award is the NSF's most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Kavan's research explores new approaches to real-time computer graphics and animation. In his recent work, he studied how to take a standard physics-based deformation model and transform it into a geometric "deformer," i.e., a simple closed-form algorithm that can produce virtually the same result, but several orders of magnitude faster than the original formulation. In his previous work, he applied techniques from abstract and linear algebra, spectral methods and finite elements to improve upon technology used in the game and film industries.

In spite of the impressive success in entertainment, 3D computer graphics are still humbled when confronted with medical-grade requirements. For example, medical illustrators often continue to rely on 2D hand drawing, because precise 3D modeling is complicated and costly. A fundamental challenge is that detailed geometric models and advanced nonlinear materials increase computational complexity, making them difficult to apply in real-time interactive applications. The goal of Kavan's CAREER research is to investigate an alternative approach based on studying the geometry of shape deformations rather than the processes which created them. He argues that intuitive shape deformation can be facilitated by guarantees of basic geometric properties such as smoothness and injectivity (no self-intersection). The key is to design algorithms that can do this quickly while providing the user with a small yet expressive set of adjustable controls to ensure an efficient interactive experience. The task of shape deformation techniques is to extrapolate this parsimonious, human manageable set of input controls into a full-scale 3D deformation field in a natural and predictable way.

To read more about Kavan and his research, please visit his faculty profile.