World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Daniel Thalmann

Daniel Thalmann
Citizenship Switzerland and Canada
Fields Computer Science
Institutions Nanyang Technological University
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
University of Montreal
Alma mater University of Geneva
Known for Virtual Human, Crowd Simulation, Virtual Rehabilitation
Notable awards Dr. Honoris Causa, Paul-Sabatier University, Toulouse, France 2002
Eurographics Distinguished Career Award 2010
Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award 2012
CGI Career Award 2015
Spouse Nadia Magnenat Thalmann

Prof. Daniel Thalmann is a Swiss and Canadian Computer Scientist and a pioneer in Virtual Humans. He is one of the most highly cited scientists in Computer Graphics.[1][2] He is currently with the Institute for Media Innovation, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Honorary Professor at EPFL, Switzerland.


  • Biography 1
  • Research 2
  • Awards and honors 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5
  • Films/Demos 6


After a master's degree in Nuclear Physics (1970) and a combined Certificate in Statistics and Computer Science (1972) both from the University of Geneva, he earned a PhD in Computer Science (1977) also from the University of Geneva. In his PhD, he worked very early on the concept of abstract machines for portable compilers and operating systems.[3] From 1977 to 1989, he was Professor at the University of Montreal, in Canada, where he started to work on Computer Graphics and Animation. Then, he came back to Switzerland and founded the Virtual Reality Lab (VRlab) at EPFL, Switzerland. He has been Visiting Professor/ Researcher at CERN, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Tokyo, and National University of Singapore. He is co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds,[4] and member of the editorial board of 6 other journals. Daniel Thalmann has published more than 500 papers in Graphics, Animation, and Virtual Reality. He is coeditor of 30 books, and coauthor of several books including 'Crowd Simulation' (second edition 2012)[5] and 'Stepping Into Virtual Reality' (2007),[6] published by Springer.


In the eighties, Daniel Thalmann together with Nadia Magnenat Thalmann became interested in the realistic computer modelling and rendering of the human form, in motion. In 1988, they directed the short film "Rendez-vous in Montreal," which is widely regarded as the first computer film to employ synthetic actors, in this case Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe.[7]

In the nineties, Daniel Thalmann focused his research on behavioural animation of Virtual Humans, introducing the concept of synthetic vision for Autonomous Virtual Humans,[8] and developing methods for realistic gait modelling.[9] In the late 1990s, he launched the first project on crowd simulation of virtual humans,[10] initiating a new field of animation that now attracts many researchers. Rendering of tens of thousands of agents, collision detection and generation of varieties of individual people became important issues. He also introduced, with Marcelo Kallmann, the concept of smart objects as objects that describe their own possible interactions.

Daniel Thalmann is also recognized in the area of Virtual Rehabilitation, a term he coined with Professor Grigore Burdea of Rutgers University (USA). He has also created with him the International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation and is a founder of the International Society of Virtual Rehabilitation.

Awards and honors

Daniel Thalmann received an Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa) from Paul-Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, in 2003.[11] He also received the Eurographics Distinguished Career Award in 2010[12] and the 2012 Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award.[13] In 2015, he received the CGI Career Achievement Award from the Computer Graphics Society (CGS).[14]


  1. ^ Google Scholar
  2. ^ Microsoft Academic Research
  3. ^ D.Thalmann, Evolution in the design of abstract machines for software portability, Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on Software engineering, 1978, pp.333-341
  4. ^ Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds, Wiley
  5. ^ D. Thalmann, S. R. Musse, Crowd Simulation, Springer 2012 (2nd edition)
  6. ^ M. Guttierrez, F. Vexo, D. Thalmann, Stepping Into Virtual Reality, Springer, 2008
  7. ^ Virtual Actor, WorldHeritage
  8. ^ Olivier Renault, N. Magnenat-Thalmann, D. Thalmann, A vision-based approach to behavioural animation, The Journal of Visualization and Computer Animation, Vol. 1, Issue 1, August 1990, pp.18–21
  9. ^ R. Boulic, N. Magnenat-Thalmann, D. Thalmann, A Global Human Walking Model with real time Kinematic Personification, The Visual Computer, Vol.6, No6, 1990, pp.344-358.
  10. ^ S. R. Musse, D. Thalmann, Hierarchical Model for Real Time Simulation of Virtual Human Crowds, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol.7, Issue 2, April 2001, pp.152-164
  11. ^ La dépèche, June 20, 2003
  12. ^ Eurographics Distinguished Career Award 2010, Eurographics, European association for Computer Graphics
  13. ^ Canadian Human Computer Communications Society
  14. ^ CGI'15

External links

  • List of publications at EPFL
  • List of publications at Microsoft Academic Research
  • Homepage and CV at EPFL


  • Nadia Magnenat Thalmann, Daniel Thalmann, Rendez-vous a Montreal, 1987
  • Jonathan Maim, Barbara Maim, Daniel Thalmann, Crowd Simulation, 2006
  • Helena Grillon, Daniel Thalmann, Attention Crowds, 2007
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.