Professor Christian Theobalt appointed to be Max-Planck-Director

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Christian Theobalt, Director at the Max-Planck-Institute for Informatics and Professor of Computer Science at Saarland University ©MPI

Christian Theobalt, head of the Graphics, Vision & Video research group at the Max-Planck-Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, has been appointed a scientific member by the Max-Planck-Society. As scientific director at the Max-Planck-Institute for Informatics, he will head a new department conducting research on fundamental questions in informatics at the intersection of computer graphics, image recognition and artificial intelligence.

Professor Theobalt gained recognition for his pioneering work using camera data to reconstruct models of the real world, in particular models of people and their movements. He developed procedures that combine classical methods of computer graphics and image recognition with concepts of machine learning. This made it possible, for example, to develop the first methods for measuring the 3D motion of people in real time, with only one camera and without using special motion-capture suits.

Christian Theobalt’s work lays important methodological foundations for how to interact with computers and intelligent systems in the future, for example by recognizing hand movements and gestures by the computer. His work also opens up far-reaching new possibilities for future applications in the fields of virtual and augmented reality as well as telepresence. His work also forms the basis of new methods that will enable intelligent systems to sense their environment with high precision in order to act and interact safely within it.

Christian Theobalt was born in Saarland, Germany. He holds a Diploma in Computer Science from Saarland University, a Master in Artificial Intellience from the University of Edinburgh, and received his PhD from Saarland University and the MPI for Informatics in 2005. From 2007 to 2009 he was Visiting Assistant Professor at Stanford University. Since September 2009, he has been heading the Graphics, Vision & Video research group at MPI for Informatics. Also in 2009, Chrsitian Theobalt became Professor of Computer Science at Saarland University. He has received a variety of accolades for his research, including two ERC grants, the Karl Heinz Beckurts Award 2017, and the EUROGRAPHICS Outstanding Technical Contribution Award 2020.

The Max-Planck-Society is one of the leading research organizations in Germany. It operates 86 institutes engaged in basic research in the natural sciences, life sciences and humanities. It is one of the top scientific organizations in the world and has produced 20 Nobel Prize winners since it was founded in 1948. At Saarland Informatics Campus, the Max Planck Society operates two institutes, the Max-Planck-Institute for Informatics and the Max-Planck-Institute for Software Systems. With nearly 250 researchers the two institutes are an important factor for the research strength of the Saarland Informatics Campus. The appointment of Christian Theobalt fundamentally strengthens the field of visual computing, a long-standing and internationally recognized central research focus at SIC.

Background Max-Planck-Institute for Informatics:
The Max Planck Institute for Computer Science has been located in Saarbrücken since its foundation in 1990. At the time, it was the first institute of the Max-Planck-Society dedicated exclusively to computer science to be located in Saarbrücken, since Saarbrücken was already one of the most important sites of university computer science research in Germany. With the appointment of Christian Theobalt, the Max-Planck-Institute for Informatics has six departments and one independent research group. The development of algorithms for the analysis and description of computer science is at the center of the research, alongside the training of young scientists.

Further Information:

Christian Theobalt:

MPI für Informatik:



Press contact and editor:
Bertram Somieski
Max-Planck-Institut for Informatics
Max-Planck-Institut for Software Systems
Tel.: +49 681 9325 5710