Jian J Zhang is Professor of Computer Graphics at the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), Bournemouth University where he leads the National Research Centre. He has worked at various universities including Bristol University, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Chongqing University, Queens University of Belfast and Brunel University.

As Principle Investigator, Prof Zhang has brought in 10 million pounds (GBP) of research grants to the NCCA from the EPSRC, AHRC, EU FP7 and EU H2020 as well as other funding organisations. His research focuses on a number of topics relating to 3D computer animation, virtual human modelling and simulation, and physics-based animation. He is also interested in virtual reality, digital twins, medical visualisation and simulation, and conversational AI.

Prof Zhang has published over 350 peer reviewed journal and conference publications and has given over 30 invited/keynote talks around the world. He has chaired over 40 international conferences and symposia, and serves on a number of editorial boards. Prof Zhang was awarded the "CGI Outstanding Career Award" by Computer Graphics International and Computer Graphics Society in 2021.

Recent Research Projects

Research Student Projects

Centre for Digital Entertainment

The Centre for Digital Entertainment (CDE) is an EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training located at Bath and Bournemouth Universities. It offers a fully funded, four-year EngD programme. Postgraduate researchers collaborate closely with some of the world's most innovative high-tech companies, not just for short-term placements, but through full immersion, typically for three years. CDE's industry partners include leading animation, VFX, and games companies such as MPC, Ninja Theory, Double Negative, and Sony, as well as organizations that apply these skills in various sectors like the NHS, Perkin Elmer Ltd, and the National Trust. CDE provides exceptional and unique opportunities for both students and companies.

Founded in 2009, CDE is the national Doctoral Training Centre in these sectors with £20 million of investment taking us through to 2023. We are a big and supportive CDE family working alongside some of the most outstanding companies in the world.

Intelligent Virtual Personal Assistant (Intel-PA)

The "Intelligent Virtual Personal Assistant" (Intel-PA) is a BU Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) focusing on AI-powered conversational animated Virtual Humans. The Intel-PA research theme builds on the research strengths of BU’s National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), namely computer animation, simulation, and visualization, by leveraging it with Conversational Artificial Intelligence (Conversational AI). Intel-PA aims to significantly elevate the believability and user-friendliness of existing virtual humans. This DTC is founded on the academic excellence and operational experience of the Centre for Digital Entertainment (CDE) – our multi-million-pound EPSRC-funded doctoral training centre operated for over 15 years. Six match-funded PhDs will form the initial two BU CDE cohorts starting 2020 and 2021, tackling the fundamental research issues and applications of the Intelligent Virtual Personal Assistant.

Current (Intel-PA) Projects

Machine Learning For Discerning Paralingual Aspects of Speech Using Prosodic Cues

Efficient Generation Of Conversational Databases – Conversational AI Technologies For Digital Virtual Humans

Intelligent Dialogue System For Automatic Diagnosis

Editing And Animating Implicit Neural Representations

Emotionally Expressive Speech Synthesis

Common Sense Reasoning For Conversational AI

Continuous Learning In Natural Conversation Generation