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GD/SPM21 Prize Spotlight

Congratulations to Mina Konaković Luković who will receive the SIAM Activity Group on Geometric Design Early Career Prize at the virtual SIAM Conference on Geometric and Physical Modeling. Additional information about Luković, including a Q&A, can be found below.

Mina Konaković Luković

Mina Konaković Luković is the 2021 recipient of the SIAM Activity Group on Geometric Design Early Career Prize. The prize will be awarded for the first time at the SIAM Conference on Geometric and Physical Modeling (GD/SPM21) to be held in a virtual format September 27 – 29, 2021. Luković will give a lecture at the conference titled “Turning Planar Materials into Curved Structures” on Tuesday, September 28 at 11:10 a.m. EST.  

The prize is awarded to Luković for her advancements in material and fabrication aware design.

The SIAM Activity Group on Geometric Design awards this prize every two years to an early career researcher who has made outstanding, influential, and potentially long-lasting contributions within five years of receiving the Ph.D. or equivalent degree as of January 1 of the award year. At least one of the papers containing this work must be published in English in a peer-reviewed journal or conference proceedings.

Luković is a Schmidt Science Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, mentored by Professor Wojciech Matusik. She earned her Ph.D. in 2019 in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), advised by Professor Mark Pauly. She received her M.S. and B.S. from the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Mathematics. Her research focuses on computer graphics, computational fabrication, 3D geometry processing, and machine learning, including architectural geometry, and the design of programmable materials. 

Q: Why are you excited to receive the award of the SIAG/GD Early Career Prize?

A: I am deeply honored that my research has been recognized by such an established and influential community. None of this would be possible without exceptional collaborators. I am grateful for their passion, hard work, and endless source of inspiration. This award is also a great motivation to continue to explore challenging and exciting research problems.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about the research that won you the prize?

A: My research mostly focuses on abstracting material and fabrication constraints into suitable geometric representations. These representations are then more readily translated into numerical algorithms for computational tools. I use the insights from differential geometry to enable designs not possible before and design new materials with specific properties and performance. In this research, I introduce a novel computational method for design and fabrication with auxetic materials. The term auxetic refers to solid materials with a negative Poisson ratio — when the material is stretched in one direction, it also expands in all other directions. In the same way that isometry is fundamental to modeling developable surfaces, I show how conformal geometry helps understand auxetic design. A key motivation for studying such material is that one can approximate doubly-curved surfaces (such as the sphere) using only flat pieces, making it attractive for fabrication.

Furthermore, I develop a computational method for designing novel deployable structures via programmable auxetics, i.e., spatially varying triangular linkage optimized to directly and uniquely encode the target 3D surface in the 2D pattern. The programmable materials are then rapidly deployed to their target surface using inflation or gravity.

Q: What does your work mean to the public?

A: My work provides the first computational tool to design complex and free-form auxetic structures. The auxetic materials have gained increasing popularity in recent years. This technology already found applications in architecture and art pieces. Since it relies on geometric modeling that is scale-invariant, it can be applied to realize a broad class of curved surfaces. The potential applications range from tiny medical implants, over patient-specific prosthetics, to large scale architectural domes. 

Q: What does being a SIAM member mean to you?

A: I am impressed and grateful for SIAM’s effort to support and promote developments in mathematics, computational tools, and their applications. Being a member is the least I can do to be a part of this great effort.

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