Leonidas Guibas: Networks of Shapes and Images

On April 20, 2015, Leonidas Guibas, professor of computerscience at Stanford University, gave a talk named “Networks of Shapes andImages” to ShanghaiTech faculty and students.

Prof. Yi Ma, executive dean of School of InformationScience and Technology (SIST), introduced the speaker’s academic career. As anACM Fellow, an IEEE Fellow and winner of the ACM Allen Newell Award, Prof.Guibas is a well-known master in computer graphics. Some of his well-known accomplishmentsinclude the analysis of double hashing, red-black trees, the quad-edge datastructure, Voronoi-Delaunay algorithms, the Earth Mover’s distance, KineticData Structures (KDS), Metropolis light transport, heat-kernel signatures andfunctional maps.

Prof. Guibas pointed outthat, across science, engineering, medicine and business we faced a deluge ofdata coming from sensors, simulations or activities of individuals on the internet,and the data often contain geometric and/or visual characters. Furthermore, thegeometric data sets we collected were frequently highly correlated, reflectinginformation about the same or similar entities, or echoing semanticallyimportant repetitions/symmetries or hierarchical structures common to bothman-made and natural objects. He described general mathematical andcomputational tools for the construction, analysis and exploitation of suchrelational networks. By creating societies of data sets and their associationsin a globally consistent way, we enabled a certain joint understanding of thedata that provided the powers of abstraction, analogy, compression, errorcorrection and summarization. Faculty and students were greatly attracted tothe intriguing images Prof. Guibas showed during the talk, and had extensivediscussion with him afterwards.


Leonidas Guibas obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1976,under the supervision of Donald Knuth. His subsequent employers include XeroxPARC, MIT, and DEC/SRC. He has been at Stanford since 1984 as Professor ofComputer Science. He has produced several Ph.D. students who are well-known incomputational geometry, such as John Hershberger, Jack Snoeyink and JorgeStolfi, or in computer graphics, such as David Salesin, Eric Veach and NiloyMitra.