Hi, my name is Steve Baek. I’m an applied geometer, researcher, educator, and entrepreneur interested in geometric data analysis. At the intersection of differential geometry and machine learning, I develop mathematical representations and algorithms for quantifying trends and patterns across geometric objects. My current and past research span a variety of interdisciplinary subjects including analysis of geometric patterns in physical/biological phenomena (e.g. microstructure morphology of energetic materials, the linkage between tumoral/peritumoral geometry and cancer outcome, etc.), statistical human body shape analysis, observation-based assessment of human performance/ergonomics, etc. I’ve been leading a variety of research projects as a (co-)principal investigator sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force, NASA, Army, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Transportation (DOT), Hyundai Motor Company, and others.
I received my B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Seoul National University (SNU) in 2009 and 2013, respectively, both with the best thesis honor. I received the National Science and Engineering Scholarship and the Global Ph.D. Fellowship from the Korean Ministry of Education during my studies. After graduation, I had been a postdoc at the Institute of Advanced Machines and Design at SNU until 2015, during which I was awarded a Presidential Postdoc Fellowship by the President of the Republic of Korea. In 2015, I moved to the United States to join the University of Iowa as an Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering. While I was there, I held courtesy appointments in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Radiation Oncology, and Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences. I was also a faculty member of the National Advanced Driving Simulator. In 2021, I joined the University of Virginia (UVA) to be part of building the new School of Data Science, UVA’s 12th school enabled in part by the largest private gift in University history. I currently hold an appointment as an Associate Professor of Data Science with Tenure and a courtesy appointment at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, here at UVA.
Aside from my academic role, I founded two startup companies specializing in computer vision and artificial intelligence, called Inseer, Inc. and Vintage Grading and Authentication (VGA), LLC. (doing business as ‘Mantis Grading’). Currently, I’m serving as a scientific advisor of Inseer and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Mantis Grading.
Outside of my professional work, I love playing golf, baseball, and tennis (in that order). Fun fact: I played in the 2012 SNU League All-Star Games as a first baseman. I recently became enthusiastic about kayaking (and paddling, in general). I also enjoy photography and graphic design.
Ph.D. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Seoul National University, Korea, 2013.
Thesis: Nonlinear Analysis of the Space of Human Body Shapes and Its Application to Parametric Human Modeling System (Best Thesis Award, Grand Prize from the ‘Society of CAD/CAM Engineers Graduate Thesis Awards’)
B.S. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Seoul National University, Korea, 2009.
Thesis: A Modeling Method for 3D Face Model Using Single 2D Front-View Image (Best Thesis Honor)
Honors & Awards
- Outstanding Poster Award from the USACM Thematic Conference on Uncertainty Quantification for Machine Learning Integrated Physics Modeling (UQ-MLIP), 2022. (Awarded to my advisee Joseph Choi)
- Supervisor of the Year Award from the Pomerantz Career Center, University of Iowa, 2021.
- Defense Innovation Award from Defense TechConnect Innovation Summit and Expo, 2020.
- Old Gold Fellowship from the University of Iowa, 2018.
- Best Paper Award from International Conference on Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Constructed Infrastructure Facilities, 2017.
- Most Cited Articles in Computer-Aided Design since 2011, Elsevier, 2016.
- Best Paper Award from 2015 Annual Conference of the Society of CAD/CAM Engineers, 2015.
- Best Paper Award from 2014 Summer Conference of the Society of CAD/CAM Engineers, 2014.
- Bronze Prize from the 15th Korea CAD/CAM Software Competition, 2014.
- Grand Prize from the 1st Delcam Korea & the Society of CAD/CAM Engineers Best Graduate Thesis Awards, 2014.
- Best Paper Award from 2014 Annual Conference of the Society of CAD/CAM Engineers, 2014.
- Best Student Paper from 2014 Annual Conference of the Society of CAD/CAM Engineers, 2014.
- Best Ph.D. Thesis from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Seoul National University, 2014.
- Presidential Postdoc Fellowship from the President of the Republic of Korea, 2013–2015.
- Top 25 Hottest Articles Published in Computer-Aided Design in 2012, Elsevier, 2012.
- Bronze Prize from 13th Korea CAD/CAM Software Competition, 2012.
- Global Ph.D. Fellowship from the Korean Ministry of Education, 2011–2013.
- Best Paper of the Year from Transactions of the Society of CAD/CAM Engineers, 2011.
- Best Paper of the Year from Transactions of the Society of CAD/CAM Engineers, 2010.
- Bronze Medal from 2009 Korea Software Awards, 2010.
- Best Bachelor’s Thesis from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Seoul National University, 2008.
- Outstanding Design Award from Seoul National University Robot Competition, 2008.
- Best Product Development Award from Seoul National University CAD/CAM Contest, 2007.
- Award for Appreciation in 2007 School Retreat Program from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Seoul National University, 2007.
- Outstanding Design Award from Seoul National University Mechanical Design Contest, 2005.
- National Science and Engineering Scholarship from the Korean Ministry of Education, 2005-2009.
Click here to view the full CV.
A comprehensive list of my publications is available here
(Nov. 22, 2022) WCAV Good Morning Charlottesville - Inside the Numbers
(Sep. 24, 2021) The Doctors TV Show - S14 E5: Does Higher BMI Equal Less Money in the Bank?
Radios, Newspapers, & Magazines
- (Sep. 21, 2021) WVTF Virginia Public Radio - Understanding the Beauty Premium
- (Sep. 3, 2021) UVA Today - Research worlds collide to find richer link between body image and income
- (Aug. 16, 2021) Daily Mail - How your BODY SHAPE affects your salary
- (Aug. 13, 2021) PsyPost - Deep machine learning study finds that body shape is associated with income
- (Mar. 03, 2020) The Daily Iowan - UI researchers use artificial intelligence to identify cancer biomarkers
- (Feb. 2, 2018) Business Record - Artificial Intelligence the 4th industrial revolution Event Preview: Artificial Intelligence the 4th industrial revolution
- (Jan. 18, 2018) The Daily Iowan - Downtown mural promotes education on renewable energy
- (Nov. 18, 2016) Press-Citizen - Iowa City students troubleshoot in makerspaces
- (Jul. 28, 2014) 교수신문 컬럼 - ‘創造’ 열풍 시대와 ‘유전알고리즘’의 역설