RI Seminar: Eitan Grinspun
From Sorcery to Science: how Hollywood Physics impacts the Sciences
Associate Professor, Columbia
November 11, 2011, 3:30-4:30, NSH 1305
Cinema uses computers to animate physics. Special effects such as
explosions and lifelike depictions of imaginary characters are made possible
by mathematical and computational models that capture qualitative,
characteristic behavior of a mechanical system. This is scientific computing
with a twist. I will describe the process by which we derive and compute
models of physics, and show actual examples of resulting technologies in
film, consumer products, physics, and medicine.
Our research group develops scientific computing tools by focusing on the
underlying geometry of the mechanical system. I will describe a process in
which we build a discrete picture from the ground up, mimicking the axioms,
structures, and symmetries of the smooth setting. I will survey the problems
we address using this methodology, such as computing the motion of flexible
surfaces, cloth, hair, honey, and solids experiencing mechanical contact.
Industry and academia has adopted these methods to improve products such as
Adobe Photoshop, films such as Disney's Tangled, train surgeons, and
understand nonlinear soft-matter phenomena.
Host: Adrien Treuille
Appointments: Stephanie Matvey
Eitan Grinspun is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Columbia
University in the City of New York. He was Professeur d'Université Invité at
l'Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2009, a Research Scientist at the
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences from 2003-2004, and a graduate
student at the California Institute of Technology from 1997-2003. He was an
NVIDIA Fellow in 2001, an Everhart Distinguished Lecturer in 2003, an NSF
CAREER Award recipient in 2007, and is currently an Alfred P. Sloan Research
Fellow and one of Popular Science Magazine's "Brilliant 10."