Kavita Bala

Dean of Cornell Bowers College of Computer and Informations Science
Professor of Computer Science
Computer Science


Kavita Bala is the Dean of the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science (Cornell Bowers CIS). She received her S.M. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and her B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT, Bombay).

Bala specializes in computer vision and computer graphics, leading research projects in recognition and visual search; material modeling and acquisition; realistic, physically-based rendering; and material perception. Bala’s research has been adopted by industry in Autodesk’s core rendering engine, and she co-founded GronkStyle, a visual recognition AI company, which began as a vision search and shopping tool integrated with IKEA’s Augmented Reality application, and was subsequently acquired by Facebook in 2019.

Bala has been recognized for her research with a variety of awards and accolades including: the SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award (2020); the IIT Bombay Distinguished Alumnus Award (2021); she is an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellow (2019); and is a Fellow of the SIGGRAPH Academy (2020).

Bala is on the Board of Directors of ColorStack, an organization that aims to increase the number of Black and Latinx Computer Science graduates that go on to rewarding technical careers, the Board of Trustees of Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago (TTIC), the Advisory Board for ACM Transactions on Graphics, the Papers Advisory Group for SIGGRAPH, and has served on over 60 editorial boards, advisory boards, and program committees in vision and graphics. Bala also co-authored the graduate-level textbook “Advanced Global Illumination.” Her work on 3D Mandalas was featured at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York. She has also received Cornell’s College of Engineering Fiona Li and Donald Li Excellence in Teaching Award (2015), James and Mary Tien Excellence in Teaching Award (2006 and 2009).

Research Interests

Teaching Interests

4620/4621/5620/5621: Intro to Graphics and Practicum 4670/5670: Computer Vision 5625: Interactive Graphics

Service Interests

Cornell Sesquicentennial Talk: “Virtual Realism and Computer Graphics”

Selected Publications

  • Zhao, Shuang , Fujun Luan, Kavita Bala. 2016. “Fitting Procedural Yarn Models for Realistic Cloth Rendering.” ACM Transactions on Graphics, 35(4).
  • Bell, Sean, Kavita Bala. 2015. “Learning visual similarity for product design with convolutional neural networks, SIGGRAPH July 2015.” ACM Transactions on Graphics 34(4): 98:1-10.
  • Bala, Kavita, Sean Bell, Paul Upchurch, Noah Snavely. 2015. “Material Recognition in the Wild with the Materials in Context Database.” Paper presented at Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), June.
  • Luan, Fujun, Sylvain Paris, Eli Shechtman, Kavita Bala. 2017. “Deep Photo Style Transfer.” Paper presented at The IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR).
  • Utkarsh Mall, Kevin Matzen, Bharath Hariharan, Noah Snavely Kavita Bala. 2019. “GeoStyle: Discovering Fashion Trends and Events.” ICCV
  • Fujun Luan, Shuang Zhao, Kavita Bala, and Ioannis Gkioulekas. 2020. “Langevin Monte Carlo Rendering with Gradient-based Adaptation.” SIGGRAPH

Selected Awards and Honors

  • IIT Bombay Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2021
  • SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award, 2020
  • SIGGRAPH Academy, 2020
  • Association for Computing Machinery Fellow, 2019
  • GrokStyle, “Top 100 promising private AI companies” by CB Insights, 2017


  • M.Sc. (Computer Science), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1995
  • Ph.D. (Computer & Information Science), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1999