Sig Lab Model

Summer Research

Our summer research applications for 2019 are closed.


One of the reasons students attend Penn is for access to faculty and research opportunities, yet few undergraduates take advantage of this opportunity. While classroom experience is essential, so is the opportunity to create new knowledge while examining the unknown. The Digital Media Design program is closely related to the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation and the ViDi Center for Digital Visualization. Research projects are undertaken by heterogeneous teams of graduate and undergraduate students and visitors. Undergraduates who contribute in a substantial way become co-authors in publications. In the past few years, summer researchers in HMS and ViDi have had papers published in notable computer graphics academic conferences and journals.

From year to year the internship topics vary depending on funding, research needs, and student interests. The projects have overall faculty guidance, but students are expected to learn new software systems, do extensive programming, contribute to archival materials (software, documentation and written papers), and orally present their work to others. Posters and participation in department-wide research demonstrations is strongly encouraged.

Many of the participating undergraduate students from previous summers are recognized through authorship in published papers.


  • The UG students include 10 women (Emiliya Al Yafei, Mabel Ogiriki, Elissa Wolf, Jennie Shapira, Fannie Liu, Teresa Fan, Nicole Nelson, Samantha Raja, Rebecca Fletcher, Nancy Yu, Desiree Velázquez-Rios) and 18 men (Josh Nadel, Youssef Victor, Charles Wang, Kai Ninomiya, Francisco Garcia, Nathan Marshak, Yu Wang, Max Gilbert, Daniel Garcia, Matthew Jones, Robert Mead, Dan Markowitz, Ian Perera, Matthew Croop, Jeremy Cytryn, Jonathan McCaffrey, Matt Kuruc, Vijay Nair).

  • Collectively they account for 25 publications: 6 in journals, 18 in conference proceedings, and 1 conference poster. UG students are first authors in 5 of these. Elissa Wolf was first author in a Presence, MIT Press journal paper.

  • Francisco Garcia co-authored 5 papers, Jennie Shapira co-authored 3, and Kai Ninomaya, 2.

  • Francisco Garcia, Jennie Shapira, Max Gilbert, and Nathan Marshak contributed to the book 'Virtual Crowds: Steps Toward Behavioral Realism' (Morgan & Claypool, 2015).

  • 7 students, Fannie Liu, Samantha Raja, Kai Ninomiya, Francisco Garcia, Yu Wang, Max Gilbert, and Ian Perera, continued with computer science graduate studies, and of these, 3 students, Francisco Garcia, Yu Wang, and Ian Perera, embarked on PhD degrees in Computer Science

  • Summer 2019 undergraduate students Nicholas Magarino, Saranya Sampath, Thy Tran, Enoch Solano, Sang Lee and Shenqi Hu won the third place of the CIS 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research for their work E.A.T.S. Extraction of Abdominal Topology and Simulation.

  • Summer 2018 undergraduate student Yi Gu won the first place of the CIS 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research for her work Robotics Control with Physics-based Fluid Simulation in Virtual Environment.

  • Summer 2018 undergraduate student Jacob Snipes won the second place of the CIS 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research for his work H.O.G.W.A.R.T.S (Handy Offline Grid-based Wind Advection Reverse Time Solver).

  • Summer 2018 undergraduate students Liangzhen Fei and Chen Li won the third place of the CIS 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research for their work Frame Interpolation of Smoke Simulation with Neural Network.

  • Summer 2017 undergraduate students Yuanming Hu, Yu Fang, Ziheng Ge, Ziyin Qu won the honorable mention of the CIS 2017 Summer Undergraduate Research for their work Enriching and accelerating the Material Point Method.

Background Image: Jeremy Newlin (DMD 2013, CGGT 2014)