James F. O’Brien is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include graphics, computer animation, simulations of physical systems, and the forensic analysis of images and video. He has authored numerous papers on these topics. In addition to his research pursuits, Prof. O'Brien has worked with film and game companies on integrating advanced simulation physics into games and special effects. His methods for destruction modeling have been used in over 200 feature films and AAA game titles. In 2015 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized his work in destruction modeling with an Academy Award for Technical Achievement. He received his doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2000, the same year he joined the faculty at UC Berkeley. Professor O'Brien is a Sloan Fellow, has been selected as one of Technology Review's TR-100, and has been awarded research fellowships from the Okawa and Hellman Foundations. He previously served as ACM SIGGRAPH Director at Large and was Chief Scientist at Avametric (acquired by Gerber Technology in 2018).


  • 2000, Ph.D., Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 1997, M.S., Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 1992, B.S., Computer Science, Florida International University

Selected Publications

Awards, Memberships and Fellowships