Modelling of Complex Natural Phenomena

Jos Stam

"Everything is approximate, less than approximate, for when more closely and sharply examined, the most perfect picture is a warty, threadbare approximation, a dry porridge, a dismal mooncrater landscape. What arrogance is concealed in perfection. Why struggle for precision, purity, when they can never be attained. The decay that begins immediately on completion of the work was now welcome to me."

Jean Arp, On My Way. Poetry and Essays , 1912-1947.


Jackson Pollock, Untitled , 1951, Ink on Howell paper.


The research described on this web page was done while I was a postdoc at INRIA from October 1995 to June 1996. Essentially I furthered my the research that I started to work on at the University of Toronto .


The use of random processes to model natural phenomena is at the heart of most of the algorithms described here. This theory allows one to approximately describe phenomena by aggregate measures. This is well suited for computer graphics generated illusions since it allows an animator to control the phenomenon and it provides an automatic mechanism to generate complex motions and appearances.

Some Results

Ray Tracing in Non-Constant Media

Stochastic Dynamics

Random Caustics

Gaseous Phenomena