Avatars, virtual humans among topics covered at UH event

May 16, 2014

HOUSTON, May 16, 2014 - A conference bringing together leading computer animation researchers and practitioners is coming to the University of Houston (UH). They will be discussing advancements in avatars, facial animation, motion capture, virtual humans and fluid simulation.

UH and the Computer Graphics Society will host the 27th International Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA 2014) at the Hilton UH May 26-28. Founded in 1988 in Geneva, Switzerland, the CASA conference is the oldest international conference in computer animation and social agents.

"Computer graphics and animation techniques during the last few decades have literally altered how movies, video games and virtual worlds are being produced," said Zhigang Deng, conference general co-chair and associate professor of computer science with UH's College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. "For instance, a winner of the recent Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, professor Doug James of Cornell University, will be one of the conference keynote speakers."

Deng is co-chairing the conference with professor Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann of University of Geneva and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The 2014 conference is only the second time CASA has been held in the U.S. and will feature 43 oral presentations of technical papers, four keynote talks and six workshop papers. The accepted papers are authored by researchers from 14 countries, including the U.S., Canada, China, United Kingdom, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey. Deng estimates that 100 people will be in attendance.

In addition to helping organize CASA 2014, UH researchers and graduate students will have a strong presence in the conference program. Guoning Chen, assistant professor of computer science, is co-organizing a workshop on "Structured Meshing" with colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University and Zhejiang University, China. Binh Le, a UH computer science Ph.D. student, and Deng will present a half-day tutorial on "Real-Time Skinning Animation" with colleagues from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. UH researchers additionally contributed to two full papers and two workshop papers. Le also designed the banner image for CASA 2014.

"The theme when I was designing the image was to depict the communication between a human and an avatar," Le said. "These days, avatars play an important role in virtual reality applications. Their main role is to make human interaction with computer systems more natural."

For a complete conference program, visit http://graphics.cs.uh.edu/casa2014/index.php. The full schedule is available at http://graphics.cs.uh.edu/casa2014/program.php, and registration information is at http://graphics.cs.uh.edu/casa2014/registration.php.
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About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit the university's newsroom at http://www.uh.edu/news-events/.

About the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

The UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, with 193 ranked faculty and nearly 6,000 students, offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in the natural sciences, computational sciences and mathematics. Faculty members in the departments of biology and biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, earth and atmospheric sciences, mathematics and physics conduct internationally recognized research in collaboration with industry, Texas Medical Center institutions, NASA and others worldwide.

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