Neil Smith is a Research Scientist in the Computational Imaging Group (VCCIMAGING) working with Professor Wolfgang Heidrich at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). 

Education and Early Career

Neil joined University of California in San Diego (UCSD) at the start his academic journey. He obtained his bachelor degree in Anthropology with Concentration in Archaeology in 2001. After that in 2003, he received his master degree in Anthropology. He has a doctoral in Anthropology since 2009.

Dr. Smith started his career life as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist at GIS Lab in Geisel Library during his bachelor studies in University of California. In 2002, he worked as a teacher assistant in the university for the subjects (ANGR 500: Field Archaeology and GIS, Fall 2002; Aztecs and their Predecessors, Winter 2003; ANLD3, Spring 2003; HUM: Humanities, Fall-Spring 2003/2004). After that in 2008, he joined Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (Calit2-CISA3) at University of California as Calit2 Staff Researcher/Investigator, and in 2009, as a Research Affiliate.

Before joining KAUST in 2013, Neil worked with Professor Thomas DeFanti as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at CALIT2 in University of California in San Diego (UCSD).

Research Interest

Dr. Smith’s research interests focus on the merging of computational science with a variety of domain driven research topics including disciplines such as archaeology, cultural heritage, digital humanities, geophysics, marine science, and urban reconstruction. His current research has focused on novel computer vision solutions that incorporate geographic information systems, scientific visualization, informatics, and simulation. In particular, the recent research at VCC has led to the development of non-invasive remote sensing techniques (e.g. SFM, LiDAR) including aerial based scanning techniques using unmanned multi-rotor copters mounted with imaging sensors.

Honors and Awards

Neil received many awards during his studies and career. In 2006, he received the Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from National Science Foundation (NSF). After that in 2009, he received Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Collaboratories Grant (Student Support) from University of California in San Diego (UCSD). In 2011, he was awarded Digital Humanities Startup Grant Level II from National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). After joining KAUST, he partnered with Mohamed Shalaby and Luca Passone to produce the FalconViz project which was awarded the KAUST Seed Fund in 2013. He also received KAUST Internal Research Projects Fund for the project RAPID. In 2015, he was awarded the Best Paper Award in CAD/Graphics.

Education Profile

  • PhD., Anthropology, University of California, San Diego, 2009
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of California, San Diego, 2003
  • B.A., Anthropology with Concentration in Archaeology, University of California, San Diego, 2001

Awards and Distinctions

  • Best Paper Award in CAD/Graphics, 2015
  • KAUST Internal Research Projects Fund for RAPID, 2013
  • KAUST Seed Fund for FalconViz, 2013
  • NEH Digital Humanities Startup Grant Level II, 2011
  • Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Collaboratory Grant (Student Support), 2009
  • NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, 2006  

Professional Memberships

  • ACM
  • ASOR
  • IEEE

Selected Publications

Müller, M., Casser, V., Lahoud, J., Smith, N., & Ghanem, B. (2018). Sim4CV: A Photo-Realistic Simulator for Computer Vision Applications. International Journal of Computer Vision, 126(9), 902–919. doi:10.1007/s11263-018-1073-7
Li, G., Mueller, M., Casser, V., Smith, N., Michels, D. L., Ghanem, B. (2018). Teaching UAVs to Race With Observational Imitation Learning, (Preprint).
Mueller, M., Smith, N., & Ghanem, B. (2017). Context-Aware Correlation Filter Tracking. 2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR). doi:10.1109/cvpr.2017.152
Mueller, M., Smith, N., Ghanem, B. (2017). Persistent Aerial Tracking from UAVs, Winter Enrichment Program 2017 - Poster Competition||KAUST Research Conference 2017: Visual Computing – Modeling and Reconstruction.
Mueller, M., Smith, N., & Ghanem, B. (2016). A Benchmark and Simulator for UAV Tracking. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 445–461. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-46448-0_27