Portrait of John Snyder

John Snyder

Principal Researcher


Dr. John Snyder is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA in the 3D Graphics research group. He is leading research efforts on real-time global illumination effects such as soft shadowing and is also interested in mathematical methods and representations for rendering and processing synthetic geometry.

Dr. Snyder joined Microsoft Research in January 1994.  Prior to that, he was a graduate student in Computer Science at the California Institute of Technology from 1984 to 1991, supervised by Al Barr and Jim Kajiya.  After graduating, he remained at Caltech as a post-doctoral researcher from 1991 to 1993.  At Caltech, he worked on high-quality rendering methods and techniques for modeling shape for CAD and entertainment applications.  His thesis was on a new geometric modeling technique, called generative modeling, which represents shapes as multidimensional, continuous, parametric functions.  A set of symbolic operators on such functions is used to build up complicated shapes by simple composition and by computational solid geometry (CSG).   His thesis showed how man-made shapes can be specified using this method, and how numerous types of manipulation on them can be supported by three simple methods associated with each operator: point evaluation, symbolic differentiation, and evaluation of an inclusion function.  The results were published in several papers, as well as a book Generative Modeling for Computer Graphics and CAD, published by Academic Press in 1992.

Dr. Snyder is active in academic research. He has been a member of the technical program committee of ACM Siggraph, the premier conference for computer graphics, 6 times.  He has also been a peer reviewer for numerous other conferences and journals.  He has advised 11 graduate student interns, and supervised Ziyad Hakura as a Ph.D. student at Stanford.  He has published more than 35 papers in journals and conference proceedings and filed more than 30 patents.  Dr. Snyder holds a B.S. degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Caltech.