Director of Graphics Research, NVIDIA
PhD, Computer Science
Thesis title: Interactive Computation and Visualization of Level-Set Surfaces: A Streaming Narrow-Band Algorithm
Advisor: Ross Whitaker
Aaron Lefohn, SCI alumnus, recently joined NVIDIA as the Director of Real-Time Graphics Research. Aaron Lefohn received his PhD from the University of California, Davis in 2006, studying under John Owens. During his PhD program, he was employed as a researcher and graphics software engineer at Pixar Animation Studios, where he worked on a variety of R&D projects focused on interactive rendering tools for artists. He obtained his MS degree from the University of Utah, studying computer graphics and scientific visualization under Ross Whitaker at the SCI Institute. His research focused on creating the first interactive 3D level-set solver for segmentation of MRI volumetric data sets. He was challenged with figuring out how to solve dynamic, sparse PDEs in parallel on the GPU and directly volume rendering those sparse representations.
In 2006, Aaron joined Neoptica, a startup company creating new graphics programming models on heterogeneous CPU+GPU computer systems such as PlayStation3. When Intel acquired Neoptica in 2007, he led Intel's engagement in OpenCL, working closely with Apple and Khronos to define version 1.0. He then returned to rendering research, leading a small research team focused on new shadow rendering algorithms for the Larrabee graphics processor. In November 2010, he became the research lead for the Advanced Rendering Technology team, a research group focused on new real-time rendering algorithms, power-efficient rendering, and CPU-GPU programming systems for visual computing.
The first product announcement based on the research from Aaron's Intel team was at the Game Developer Conference in March 2013. The announcement was that Intel's latest GPU (Haswell) adds new capabilities that make it possible to deliver practical solutions to several long-standing problems in real-time graphics: order-independent transparency, volumetric shadows, and anti-aliasing of fine detail such as foliage and hair:
- Intel PixelSync Contributes to Computer Graphics History
- Intel's PixelSync & InstantAccess: Two New DirectX Extensions for Haswell