Nadia Magnenat Thalmann

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Nadia Magnenat Thalmann
Nadia Magnenat Thalmann.jpg
Thalmann in 2009
NationalitySwiss, Canadian
Alma materUniversity of Geneva
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
AwardsHumboldt Research Award
The Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Award
CGI Achievement Award
Honorary Doctorate from University of Ottawa
Eurographics Distinguished Career Award
Dr. Honoris Causa in Natural Sciences from the Leibniz University of Hanover
Member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Graphics
Virtual Humans
Social Humanoid Robotics
InstitutionsUniversité Laval
HEC, University of Montréal
University of Geneva
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Professor Nadia Magnenat Thalmann is an eminent computer graphics [1] scientist who is the founder and head of MIRALab at the University of Geneva. She presently serves as the Director of the Institute for Media Innovation (IMI) in Singapore at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).


Nadia Magnenat Thalmann has made numerous research contributions in the general area of computer graphics and is best known for her work on simulating realistic virtual humans. She also made early contributions in computer graphics during her PhD by simulating and visualizing 3D electronic densities of the Schrödinger equation's approximate solutions (1977).[2][3] Later on, she pioneered the modelling of realistic Virtual Humans, particularly producing the first simulation of a 3D version of Marilyn Monroe in the film Rendez-vous in Montreal (1987) [4][5][6] and showing her work at the Modern Art Museum in New York in 1988 along with Canadian computer artists.

She published several landmark papers on facial and body deformation methods[5][6][7][8] and cloth simulation.[9][10] She made several original contributions in MRI segmentation methods correlated with clinical findings.[11][12][13] She also modelled the simulation of Virtual Ballerinas where their hip cartilage deformations can be visualized while dancing.[14][11] She further demonstrates see-through knee articulations of real soccer players.[15] Since 2008, she has started at MIRALab, University of Geneva, a research with the humanoid robot EVA and demonstrated a first model of a realistic robot showing emotions and having a memory model.[16] More recently, she has worked on the social autonomous robot Nadine,[17][18] modeled in her image, that is able to speak, recognize people and gestures, express mood and emotions, and remember actions.[19] Nadine has been shown at the ArtScience Museum, in the exhibition HUMAN+: The Future of our Species, in Singapore, which has attracted more than 100 000 visitors.[20][21]


Nadia Magnenat Thalmann received a MS in Psychology, a MS in Biology and a Master in Biochemistry at the University of Geneva. She obtained a PhD in Quantum Physics in 1977 from the same University. She started her career as an Assistant Professor at the University Laval in Canada, then became a Professor at HEC, University of Montreal until 1988. In 1989, she moved to the University of Geneva where she founded the MIRALab laboratory.

She is currently Director of the Institute for Media Innovation at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Thalmann has authored and co-authored more than 600 papers in the area of Virtual Humans, social robots, VR, and 3D simulation of human articulations (CV [22]). She has participated in more than 45 European research projects[23] and led quite a few of them.[24] She has served the Computer Graphics community by creating the Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA) in Geneva in 1988, as well as managing Computer Graphics International (CGI), both of which are internationally well known conferences.[25] She is the editor-in-chief of the journal “The Visual Computer” published by Springer, Germany [26] and co editor-in-chief of the Computer Animation Journal published by Wiley.[27]

Honors and awards[edit]

Thalmann has received more than 30 honors and awards [24] such as "Woman of the Year",[28] for early original contribution in computer graphics in Montreal (1987). More recently, she was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa in Natural sciences from the Leibniz University of Hanover (2009),[29] an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Ottawa [30] (2010) and a Career Achievement Award from the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society [31] in Toronto (2012). The same year she received the prestigious Humboldt Research Award [32] in Germany, given to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future. She has also produced several award-winning films, among them "Virtual Marilyn" at the Golden Camera Ceremony in Berlin.[33] She was also selected as a Pioneer in Information Technology at the Heinz Nixdorf Computer Museum's Electronic Wall of Fame in Germany.[34] Her film "High Fashion in Equations" has won the CGI 2007 Best International Scientific Video award[35] and was shown in the SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre in the same year.[36] Nadine, her Social Robot, has received more than 1.2 million video views online, and over 200 publications in international media.[37]


  1. ^ Google Scholar h-index
  2. ^ N. Magnenat Thalmann, A New Computer Program for Generating Three-Dimensional Plots of Electronic Densities and Related Contour Levels, Chimia, Swiss Chemical Society, vol. 31, no. 9, pp.361-362, 1977
  3. ^ N. Magnenat Thalmann and J. Weber, LCAO Xα calculation of the ionization energies of small molecules, Chemical Physics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47, no. 3, 1977
  4. ^ N. Magnenat Thalmann and D. Thalmann, The Direction of Synthetic Actors in the film Rendez-vous à Montreal, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE publisher, vol. 7, no. 12, pp. 9-19, 1987
  5. ^ a b N. Magnenat Thalmann, E. Primeau and D. Thalmann, Abstract Muscle Action Procedures for Human Face Animation, The Visual Computer, Springer Verlag, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 290-297, 1987
  6. ^ a b N. Magnenat Thalmann, R. Laperrière and D. Thalmann, Joint-Dependent Local Deformations for Hand Animation and Object Grasping, Proceeding of Graphics Interface ’88, A. K. Peters Ltd., pp. 26-33, 1988
  7. ^ P. Kalra, A. Mangili, N. Magnenat Thalmann and D. Thalmann, Simulation of Facial Muscle Actions Based on Rational Free Form Deformations, Proceeding of Eurographics ’92, Cambridge, UK, pp. 59-69, 1992
  8. ^ H. Seo and N. Magnenat Thalmann, LoD Management on Animating Face Models, Proceeding of IEEE Virtual Reality 2000, New Brunswick, USA, IEEE Publisher, pp. 161-168, October 2000
  9. ^ M. Carignan, Y. Yang, N. Magnenat Thalmann and D. Thalmann, Dressing animated synthetic actors with complex deformable clothes, Proceedings of the 19th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques SIGGRAPH '92, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 99 – 104, July 1992
  10. ^ P. Volino, M. Courchesne and N. Magnenat Thalmann, Versatile and Efficient Techniques for Simulating Cloth and Other Deformable Objects, Proceeding of Image-Based Modeling, Rendering, and Lighting (SIGGRAPH ’95), Computer Graphics, pp. 137-144, 1995
  11. ^ a b J. Schmid, J. Kim and N. Magnenat Thalmann, Extreme Leg Motion Analysis of Professional Ballet Dancers via MRI Segmentation of Multiple Leg Postures, International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery (IF: 1.659), Springer, vol. 6, no.1, pp.45-57, May 2010
  12. ^ B. Gilles and N. Magnenat Thalmann, Musculoskeletal MRI Segmentation Using Multi-resolution Simplex Meshes with Medial Representations, Medical Image Analysis (IF: 3.681), Elsevier, vol.14, pp.291-302, June 2010
  13. ^ B. Gilles, F. Kolo-Christophe, N. Magnenat Thalmann, C. Becker, S. Duc, J. Menetrey and P. Hoffmeyer, MRI-based Assessment of Hip Joint Translations, Journal of Biomechanics (IF: 2.496), vol. 42, no.9, pp.1201-1205, June 19, 2009
  14. ^ C. Charbonnier, F.C. Kolo, V.B. Duthon, N. Magnenat Thalmann, C.D. Becker, P. Hoffmeyer, and J. Menetrey, Assessment of Congruence and Impingement of the Hip Joint in Professional Ballet Dancers, American Journal of Sports Medicine (IF: 4.699), vol. 39, pp.557-566, March, 2011
  15. ^ A. Chincisan, K. Tecante, M. Becker, N. Magnenat Thalmann, C. Hurschler, H.F. Choi, A computational approach to calculate personalized pennation angle based on MRI: effect on motion analysis, Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery (IF: 1.66), DOI: 10.1007/s11548-015-1251-9, July 2015
  16. ^ Z. Kasap and N. Magnenat Thalmann, Building long-term relationships with virtual and robotic characters: the role of remembering, The Visual Computer (IF: 1.073), vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 87-97, January 2012
  17. ^ Nadine
  18. ^ Media coverage on Nadine
  19. ^ J. Zhang J, N. Magnenat Thalmann and J. Zheng, Combining Memory and Emotion With Dialog on Social Companion: A Review, Proceedings of the ACM 29th International Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA 2016), pp. 1-9, Geneva, Switzerland, May 23–25, 2016
  20. ^ Nadine at the Singapore ArtScience Museum
  21. ^ Media coverage on Nadine exhibition
  22. ^ CV
  23. ^ European Research Projects
  24. ^ a b CV pages
  25. ^ Computer Graphics Society
  26. ^ The Visual Computer Editor-in-Chief
  27. ^ Computer Animation Journal Co-Editor-in-Chief
  28. ^ Woman of the Year
  29. ^ Awarded Doctor Honoris Causa in Natural sciences from the Leibniz University of Hanover
  30. ^ Honorary Doctorate of the University of Ottawa
  31. ^ Career Achievement Award from the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society
  32. ^ Humboldt Research Award
  33. ^ "Virtual Marilyn" at the Golden Camera Ceremony
  34. ^ Heinz Nixdorf Computer Museum’s Electronic Wall of Fame
  35. ^ CGI 2007 Best International Scientific Video award
  36. ^ SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre 2007
  37. ^ Nadine Press Releases

External links[edit]