Zhigang Deng

Associate Professor, Ph.D.
   Director of Graduate Studies,
   Director of Computer Graphics
         & Interactive Media Lab,
Department of Computer Science,
University of Houston, Houston, TX

Adjunct Associate Professor
School of Biomedical Informatics
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)

Phillip G. Hoffman Hall (PGH), 536
Houston, TX 77204-3010

Tel: +1 713 743 1018
Fax: +1 713 743 3335

Email (preferred way to contact me):
zdeng4 (at) uh.edu

Mailing Address:
Phillip G. Hoffman Hall, Department of Computer Science,
3551 Cullen Blvd, Room 501,
Houston, TX, 77204-3010


I am an Associate Professor of Computer Science at University of Houston (UH). I am also the Director of Graduate Studies at UH Computer Science Department and the Founding Director of the UH Computer Graphics and Interactive Media (CGIM) Lab. I earned Ph.D. in Computer Science at the Integrated Media System Center (NSF ERC) and Department of Computer Science at the University of Southern California in 2006. I also completed B.S. degree in Mathematics from Xiamen University (China), and M.S. in Computer Science from Peking University (China). Over the years, I've worked at the Founder Research and Development Center (China) and AT&T Shannon Research Lab.

My research interests are in the broad areas of computer graphics, computer animation, human computer interaction, virtual human modeling and animation, and visual computing for biomedical/healthcare informatics. I am the recipient of ACM ICMI Ten Year Technical Impact Award, UH Teaching Excellence Award, Google Faculty Research Award, UHCS Faculty Academic Excellence Award, and NSFC Overseas and Hong Kong/Macau Young Scholars Collaborative Research Award. Besides the CASA 2014 conference general co-chair and SCA 2015 conference general co-chair, I currently serve as an Associate Editor of several journals including Computer Graphics Forum, and Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds Journal. My research has been funded by NSF, NIH, NASA, DOD, Texas NHARP, and various industry sources (Google, Nokia, NVidia, etc). I am a senior member of ACM and a senior member of IEEE.

Research Opportunities

I am constantly looking for new graduate or undergraduate students to join my group! Self-Motivated students with solid math, vision, or graphics background are encouraged to apply. If you are already a current MS or PhD student in UH Computer Science program and would like to work with me, please make sure to take COSC6372 and/or COSC6356 courses.

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selected current projects

Hexahedral Mesh Re-parameterization from Aligned Base Domains

A first and complete pipeline to optimize the global structure of a hex-mesh, by identifying and removing those valid removal base-complex sheets that contain misaligned singularities.

Robust and Accurate Skeletal Rigging from Mesh Sequences

Using the input of an animated mesh sequence, this approach can automatically extract its optimal skeleton structure, joint positions, linear blend skinning weights, and the corresponding bone transformations.

Two-layer Sparse Compression of Dense-Weight Blend Skinning

It introduces an efficient two-layer sparse compression technique to substantially reduce the computational cost of a dense-weight skinning model, with insignificant loss of its visual quality.

Smooth Skinning Decomposition with Rigid Bones

The SSDR model can effectively approximate the skin deformation of nearly articulated models as well as highly deformable models by a low number of rigid bones and a sparse, convex bone-vertex weight map.

Perceptually Guided Facial Animation

A perceptually guided computational framework is introduced to generate expressive facial animation, and quantitatively and automatically evaluate visual speech animation.

Eye and Head Animations

Data-driven synthesis algorithms for realistic and coordinated eye and head movements based on (live or pre-recorded) speech input

Visual Speech Animation Synthesis

Automated algorithms and systems to generate expressive visual speech animations based on novel typed or spoken input

Blendshape Facial Animation

Algorithms for automating or reducing time-consuming tuning efforts of the blendshape animation approach, including target interference reducing, cross-model mapping, and model construction.

Human Motion Compression and Retrieval

Effective algorithms for compressing and retrieving character motions by hierarchically extracting meaningful motion patterns from dataset, or by performing sparse dictionary learning from dataset.

Visual-Haptic Interfacing for Robot-Assisted Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

A novel human-in-the-loop, visual haptic interfacing system for planning and performing real-time MRI guided, robot-assisted, minimally invasive surgical interventions on the beating heart, with particular focus on aortic valve implantations.

Latest News
I together with Prof. Chen receive a new DoD DURIP grant to build a scalable high-fidelity visual computing infrastructure at University of Houston.
I receive a Faculty Academic Excellence Award in recognition extraordinary academic achievements from the Department of Computer Science at University of Houston, during the Department's 2015 annual award recognition event.
I receive a new NSF research grant to work on "Digitally Mediated Multi-party Communication" which starts on 9/1/2015.
I am elevated to a ACM Senior Member, effective since May 2015.
I am appointed as the new Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Computer Science at UH, which will be effective since September 2015.
Our paper titled "Hexahedral Mesh Re-parameterization from Aligned Base Domains" (with X. Gao and G. Chen) is accepted to ACM SIGGRAPH 2015 Conference as a technical paper.
I receive a Certificate of Excellence in recognition extraordinary achievements from College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at University of Houston, during the Provost's 2014 award recognition luncheon.
I am a co-recipient of "Ten Year Technical Impact Award" (on ACM ICMI 2014 Conference) for my co-authored ICMI 2004 paper "Analysis of Emotion Recognition using Facial Expressions, Speech and Multimodal Information".
I serve as a general co-chair of ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation (SCA) 2015 that will be held at Los Angeles, CA. Here is the official SCA 2015 website.
I co-instruct a half-day "Skinning: Real-time Shape Deformation" course (with A. Jacobson, L. Kavan, and J. Lewis) on the ACM SIGGRAPH 2014 Conference.
Our paper titled "Robust and Accurate Skeletal Rigging from Mesh Sequences" (with my PhD student Binh H. Le) was accepted to ACM SIGGRAPH 2014 Conference as a technical paper.
I am invited to serve as an Associate Editor of the Computer Graphics Forum Journal (the official publication of Eurographics) starting in 2014.
I receive an Overseas and Hong Kong/Macau Young Scholars Collaborative Research Award (formerly Overseas Distinguished Young Scholar) from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (A.K.A NSF of China) to conduct computer animation collaborative research with Zhejiang University, China.
As a conference general co-chair, I will co-host the 27th International Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA) 2014 in May at Houston, Texas. Here is its "call for papers" and the conference website.
I am a co-recipient of the 2013 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award for group teaching excellence in game design education, which is the highest teaching honor given by the University of Houston. Here are the corresponding Department News and College News reports. Here is the award photo.