UTCS Faculty Candidate - Danny Kaufman/Columbia University, "Geometric Algorithms for Computing Frictionally Contacting Systems," ACES 2.302

Contact Name: 
Jenna Whitney
Apr 10, 2012 11:00am - 12:00pm

There is a sign-up schedule for this event that can be found at


Type o

f Talk: UTCS Faculty Candidate

Speaker/Affiliation: Danny Kaufman/Colu

mbia University

Talk Audience: UTCS Faculty, Graduate Students, Unde

rgraduate Students and Outside Interested Parties

Date/Time: Tuesday,
April 10, 2012, 11:00 am

Location: ACES 2.302

Host: Chandra Ba


Talk Title: Geometric Algorithms for Computing Frictionally Contac

ting Systems

Algorithms to accurately capture the combined
effects of dissipation and contact processes are essential for the physica

l modeling of many poorly understood phenomena. These extend from prosaic d

omestic phenomena such as the chattering of a chair dragged across the floo

r to emergent pattern-formation in driven granular assemblies.

Yet the
fundamental features of contact mechanics expose significant challenges to
computation including strong nonlinearity, nonsmoothness, nonconvexity,
and nonuniqueness, compounded by the difficulties of scaling to the high-

dimensional systems and interactive rates required by modern research, ent

ertainment, and industrial applications. In this talk I will discuss how t

hese fundamental challenges can be successfully addressed by geometric algo

rithms that preserve core properties of modeled physical systems. I will ex

plain how these critical geometric features are identified and incorporated
as fundamental algorithmic building blocks so that predictive and convinci

ng simulations follow by construction. I will present examples of how algor

ithms I have developed with such "baked-in" geometry have enabled the effic

ient and scalable computation of highly difficult and, in some cases, pre

viously intractable simulation problems in frictional contact, collision,
haptic rendering, and interactive design. Moving forward I believe that b

uilding geometry into our computations is key for developing the next gener

ation of physical simulation algorithms that are both simple, thus easing

adoption and code maintenance, and yet efficiently predictive, thus produ

cing reliable and visually compelling results.

Danny Kaufman is
a post-doctoral researcher in Computer Science at Columbia University. His
research focuses on developing geometric algorithms and frameworks to obta

in predictive and efficient simulations of physical systems for application

s in computer animation, interactive design, haptics, robotics, and com

putational physics. His work on frictional contact algorithms has led to on

going collaborations with industrial partners including Disney Research and
Weta Digital, and, most recently, the award of an NSF-CGV grant. He rec

eived his PhD from Rutgers University and was, during his PhD studies, a

visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia from 2006 through 20