Source: ACM SIGGRAPH Citation
ACM SIGGRAPH is pleased to present the Significant New Researcher Award to Wenzel Jakob for his work in rendering and geometry.
Wenzel’s broad contributions to computer graphics are centered in rendering, where his work spans surfaces and volumes, path tracing and Markov Chain Monte Carlo, rendering software, and surface reflectance and appearance models. His light transport work has expanded both the problems being solved—for instance by generalizing volume scattering to anisotropic materials like textiles—and the methods for solving them—for instance by applying the differential geometry of manifolds to high dimensional structures in path space. He often applies intricate numerical methods to impressive effect, such as in reviving classical methods from atmospheric physics to solve new problems in layered surface appearance. Wenzel’s research also connects to the physical world through substantial experimental work in surface reflectance measurement and fabrication of refractive surfaces.
During his postdoc, Wenzel expanded his repertoire into the area of surface geometry, creating a highly scalable and practical method for re-meshing complex surfaces; it produces smooth, well-structured triangle and quad meshes that align to geometric features, while remaining very fast and scalable to large models.
Besides his considerable theoretical and algorithmic contributions, Wenzel also makes invaluable contributions through practical, functional software. His Mitsuba open-source renderer provides solid implementations of many difficult methods, making it a favorite testbed for rendering researchers. He has also contributed considerably to the PBRT renderer, which plays an important role in advanced instruction and as a reference implementation for production systems. His open-source field-aligned meshing software has been adopted in multiple practical applications. He is leading by example in helping to move our field towards viewing solid, practical implementations as an integral part of graphics research.
Wenzel did his undergraduate work at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology before moving to Cornell University, where he earned a Master’s followed by a PhD in 2013, under the supervision of Steve Marschner. He spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zurich working with Olga Sorkine-Hornung before moving to his current faculty position at EPFL in Lausanne in 2016.