Cheng Zhang

University of California Irvine


I am a PhD candidate (2017 – Now) in Computer Science department at UC Irvine, where I am working with Prof. Shuang Zhao. I obtained my B.E. in Electrical Engineering from BJUT (2011-2015) and my M.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University (2015-2017), where I worked with Prof. Changxi Zheng. My research focuses on general-purpose physics-based differentiable rendering—the computation of derivatives of images exhibiting complex light transport effects (e.g. soft shadow, indirect illumination, and subsurface scattering) with respect to arbitrary scene parameters (e.g., camera pose, illumination, object geometry, and material properties). Differentiable rendering techniques can enable, for example, gradient-based optimization when solving high-dimensional inverse rendering problems. Additionally, these techniques facilitate the efficient integration of physics-based light transport simulation in machine learning and probabilistic inference pipelines, where differentiability is a key requirement.