On June 11, 2023, ACM SIGGRAPH announced the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, recognizing Cheng Zhang “for a dissertation presenting significant advances in physics-based rendering and providing both practical tools and theoretical foundations for future differentiable rendering algorithms.”
Zhang, advised by Professor Shuang Zhao, earned his Ph.D. in computer science from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) in June 2022 and is now a research scientist at Meta Reality Labs.
“The central focus of my dissertation revolves around the introduction of an innovative physics-based differentiable rendering framework known as path-space differentiable rendering,” he explains. “This proposed method holds significant importance for applications across a diverse range of areas, encompassing computer graphics and vision, computational imaging, computational fabrication, robotics, and virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR).”
He continues to work on advancing algorithms for differentiable rendering, with a strong emphasis on practical applications. “One particular area of focus is utilizing these tools to address real-world challenges such as 3D reconstruction,” he says. “I am particularly interested in combining physics-based approaches (e.g., differentiable rendering) with learning-based methods to unlock more possibilities.”
Zhang was grateful to see his work recognized. “I am deeply honored and excited to receive this prestigious award,” he says. “It is truly gratifying to see my dissertation, as a comprehensive summary of my research work during my Ph.D. in the past four years, being acknowledged and celebrated by the SIGGRAPH Award committee.”
— Shani Murray