Alain Fournier Award

Stelian Coros

2010 Alain Fournier Ph.D. Dissertation Annual Award

Stelian Coros is the 2010 recipient of the Alain Fournier Ph.D. Dissertation Award. His dissertation, entitled Real-Time Planning and Control for Simulated Bipedal Locomotion, made several outstanding research contributions to computer graphics.

Stelian’s dissertation addresses the challenging problem of learning locomotion strategies for physically- simulated characters. His work makes particular contributions towards developing abstract models of step- to-step dynamics, hierarchical control policies, foot placement strategies, and internal virtual force abstractions. These allow autonomous physics-based characters to robustly perform a large variety of new skills, including locomotion across terrain with gaps, agile walking and running towards a target location, carrying heavy crates, ducking under and stepping over obstacles, and stooping to pick up objects placed at any height. A generalized locomotion controller is developed which is demonstrated to work well across a broad range of tasks, character proportions, and motion styles. The dissertation has resulted in an impressive series of publications and contains a body of work that promises to have a significant influence on physics-based character animation.

Stelian completed a Bachelor of Computing at the University of Guelph in 2006, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Professor Michiel van de Panne. As a graduate student, Stelian received several scholarships and was active in a number of leadership roles in his laboratory, department, and research community. He has even presented a SIGGRAPH ASIA conference paper on behalf of colleagues from another university who were unable to attend. After his Ph.D., Stelian joined Disney Research in Zurich as a postdoctoral researcher under the supervision of Dr. Robert Sumner.