CSE’s Zexiang Xu Awarded Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal

Jun 11, 2021
CSE Ph.D. candidate Zexiang Xu was among seven students from across the university to be honored for outstanding doctoral research

By Josh Baxt


Zexiang Xu, a Ph.D. candidate in UC San Diego’s Computer Science and Engineering Department, was among seven students from across the university to receive the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal for outstanding doctoral research.

Xu’s dissertation, Sparse Sampling for Appearance Acquisition, was the Jacobs School of Engineering winner. He and other recipients will be recognized at the Graduate Division Commencement on Saturday, June 12.

“Zexiang's work has completely transformed the field, reducing the number of images needed for appearance acquisition by two orders of magnitude,” said Xu’s advisor CSE Professor Ravi Ramamoorthi, who heads the Center for Visual Computing.

Xu’s research focuses on scene capture and rendering. He’s trying to refine the process to include fewer inputs and produce better images.

“In my dissertation work, the goal has been to improve computation and acquisition efficiency in various capture problems and make scene acquisition more practical,” said Xu.

Now working at Adobe Research, Xu is striving to solve similar problems. He notes that some of the algorithms in his dissertation work best in lab environments, where lighting, camera and other factors can be more easily controlled. He’s now investigating ways to remove those constraints.

“Adobe makes a lot of great creative software products for content generation,” said Xu. “It’s a good opportunity to move some of my research into actual products. This research offers a lot of opportunities, which keeps me busy addressing those problems.”

While Xu worked hard on his dissertation and is quite gratified by the award, he’s also a little stunned.

“I feel honored, but also I am a little surprised because I feel the department, our division, has a lot of great students,” said Xu. “Many others are doing great work, so winning this year is an incredible experience.”