Alain Fournier Award

Boris Dalstein

2017 Alain Fournier Award for the best Canadian Computer Graphics Dissertation

Boris Dalstein is the recipient of the 2017 Alain Fournier Ph.D. Dissertation Award. His dissertation, entitled “Topological Modeling for Vector Graphics”, makes substantial contributions to the theory of vector graphics topology and introduces new data structures and algorithms for their representation and modeling.

Vector graphics is a core technology at the heart of many well-established drawing tools and other software. While vector graphics geometry can be edited with relative ease, the support for topological changes has been very limited so far. Dalstein’s beautifully illustrated dissertation raises the community’s attention to this important problem and presents insightful solutions built on top of mathematically rigorous foundations. As the theoretical basis for this work, Dalstein develops the Point-Curve-Surface Complex to enable formal reasoning about vector graphics in the language of algebraic topology. Building on this concept, the dissertation introduces the Vector Graphics Complex as a data structure that supports fundamental topological operations for vector graphics illustrations. Finally, extensions to time-varying topology via the Vector Animation Complex open the door to vector graphics animation, with numerous applications in traditional hand-drawn animation, non-photorealistic rendering, data and medical visualization, computer games, and many more.

Boris obtained his B.Sc. in Computer Science from ENS Lyon, and his M.Sc. from Université Grenoble Alpes, including an exchange semester at ETH Zurich. In 2012, he started his Ph.D. program in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Professor Michiel van de Panne. The core of his dissertation lead to two first-authored papers published in ACM Trans. on Graphics. During his Ph.D., he has also spent two research internships on cloth simulation at Pixar Animation Studios. He is currently developing and commercializing his Ph.D. work into his own startup VGC Software.

The “Alain Fournier Memorial Fund” was created to celebrate Alain’s life, to commemorate his accomplishments, and to honour his memory. It rewards an exceptional computer graphics Ph.D. dissertation defended in a Canadian University over the previous year. The winning dissertation is selected through a juried process by a selection committee consisting of accomplished researchers in computer graphics.

For more information about the “Alain Fournier Memorial Fund”, and information about donation, please visit