Office: 6-225E Keller Hall
Phone: (612) 625-2013
Email: narain@umn.edu

Rahul Narain rhymes with "car full o' lion"

I'm an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. My research focuses on numerical methods and mathematical models for physics-based animation and computer graphics. I'm also interested in applications to design, robotics, and scientific computing.

Previously, I received a B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and an M.S. and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill advised by Ming C. Lin, and did a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley working with James F. O'Brien.

I'm looking for enthusiastic students who have a stomach for maths and think physics is cool. Take a look at some of my research areas below, and if any of them sound exciting or you have ideas of your own, get in touch!

Teaching

I will be teaching CSci 5980/8980: Physics-Based Animation in fall 2015. I'll set up a course web page soon, but in the meantime, here's the flyer describing the course content, format, and prerequisites.

At Berkeley, I gave two guest lectures on fluid simulation in CS 184: Foundations of Computer Graphics in fall 2013. Here are the slides: (1) Introduction and particle-based fluids, (2) grid-based fluids.

At UNC, I taught COMP 116: Introduction to Scientific Computing in the first summer session, 2011.

Research & Selected Papers

Adaptive remeshing: Lots of physical phenomena show fine localized detail, from folds and wrinkles in cloth to crack patterns in shattering objects. Naturally, we'd like to refine the mesh resolution where there is detail and use coarser elements in smooth regions. The tricky part is anticipating where detail is going to emerge and refining sufficiently in advance, so you don't lose all the interesting dynamics.

Fluids etc.: Computer graphics has a rich history of techniques for simulating smoke, water, and other Newtonian fluids. I like to think about ways to simulate nontraditional fluid-like substances — like sand and oobleck — and to simulate fluids in nontraditional ways — like vorticity-based and boundary element methods.

Crowd simulation: Crowds of pedestrians can in certain situations be well approximated as a continuous fluid-like system, particularly when the crowd is large and dense. In these cases we can apply the tools of continuum mechanics to model the behaviour of the crowd, enabling efficient simulations and revealing new insights.

Publications

Here's my full list of publications.

Software