Computer Scientist Makes Splash With Academy Award For Fluid Simulation

The rushing floodwaters in Evan Almighty, the heaving seas of the latter two Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the dragon's flaming breath in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire all featured computer-generated fluids in spectacular action. The science behind those splashy thrills will be recognized Feb. 9 with an Academy Award for Ron Fedkiw, associate professor of computer science at Stanford, and two collaborators at the special effects firm Industrial Light and Magic (ILM).

"The primary work started a few years ago when we developed a system designed for the female liquid terminator in Terminator 3," Fedkiw said. "Almost immediately after that it was used in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie to simulate the wine that the pirate skeleton was drinking out of the bottle in the moonlight. Things like the sinking ship in Poseidon and the large water whirlpool in Pirates of the Caribbean 3 are good examples of the system in action."

The system, co-developed with ILM scientists Nick Rasmussen and Frank Losasso Petterson (a former doctoral student of Fedkiw's), uses a method of simulating low-viscosity fluids such as water and fire, as in the explosions in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

(Source: Science Daily)

Awards, Visual Effects

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