November 8–21, 2015
W. Randolph Franklin (B.Sc., Computer Science, Univ. of Toronto; A.M. & Ph.D., Mathematica Accomodata, Harvard University), is a Professor in the Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His current NSF research project is to understand the mathematics of terrain. His most recent NSF project, together with Cutler and Zimmie, was analyzing how levees erode when overtopped, while testing models in a geotechnical centrifuge. Sub-projects included compressing terrain while preserving slope, compressing multidimensional environmental data, and extending partial hydrological data to a complete and consistent river network.
Franklin’s research hobby is designing and implementing small, simple, and fast data structures and algorithms for large geometric datasets. This research is applicable to computational cartography, computer graphics, computational geometry, and geographic information science. His long-term unreachable goal is to establish terrain modeling on a proper formal foundation that respects its physical properties. He believes that terrain cannot be modeled mathematically while sitting in an office and abstracting away everything that makes this domain unique.
During 2000–2002 Franklin was Director of the Numeric, Symbolic, and Geometric Computation Program at NSF, where he was a prime mover of the two Computational Algorithms and Representations for Geometric Objects (CARGO) solicitations, joint between NSF and DARPA/DSO.
Franklin has held visiting positions in EECS at UC Berkeley, the U.S. Army Topographic Engineering Center, the Università degli Studi di Genova (Italy), the University of Laval, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and the National University of Singapore.
While at UCSB, Franklin is collaborating with Werner Kuhn on geographic and computer science aspects of combining visibility and hydrography to describe terrain, perhaps using parallel processing.