Niels Joubert, PhD

  • Office of the CTO @ Swift Navigation

Talks and Notes

These are informal talks and notes on a wide range of work-in-progress and half-baked ideas.
Expect wide variations in quality, from almost-publishable to text-deluge.

You may also be interested in my undergraduate portfolio website for my pre-2010 work.



Tools to Facilitate Quadrotor-based Cinematography

2017 Stanford Thesis

Presents my overall thesis work on cinematography-first interaction with quadrotor cameras, enabling novices and experts alike to capture high quality video footage without manually pilotting a quadrotor.

Dissertation (pdf)
Thesis defense video (youtube)
Thesis defense slides (just slides | with notes)

Towards a Drone Cinematographer: Guiding Quadrotor Cameras using Visual Composition Principles

2016 arXiv Paper

Presents an end-to-end system that autonomously captures cinematic shots of people using a quadrotor camera, by drawing on visual composition principles.

by Niels Joubert*, Jane L. E*, Dan B Goldman, Floraine Berthouzoz, Mike Roberts, James A. Landay, and Pat Hanrahan. Appears on arXiv 2016

Project Website | Research Paper

An Interactive Tool for Designing Quadrotor Camera Shots

2015 SIGGRAPH Paper

Demonstrates a tool to preplan and automously execute cinematic trajectories using quadrotor cameras.

by Niels Joubert*, Mike Roberts*, Anh Truong, Floraine Berthouzoz, and Pat Hanrahan. Appears in SIGGRAPH Asia 2015.

Project Website | Research Paper

Liszt: A Domain Specific Language for Building Portable Mesh-Based PDE Solvers


Presents a programming language and runtime system for performant and productive mesh-based simulation programming.

by Zach DeVito, Niels Joubert, Francisco Palocios, Stephen Oakley, Montserrat Medina, Mike Barrientos, Erich Elsen, Frank Ham, Alex Aiken, Karthic Duraisamy, Eric Darve, Juan Alonso, and Pat Hanrahan.

Research Paper

BruteSaaS: A centrally managed pull-based peer-to-peer system for software distribution in enterprise environments

2011 KDDI Whitepaper

Presents a software distribution system we build at BruteSoft Inc. Demonstrates how to adapt the Bittorrent protocol with two important features for enterprise software distribution: (1) respect the asymmetric bandwidth of two-tier enterprise WAN/LAN environments, and (2) provide central management of the distributed torrent network.

by Niels Joubert


Enhancing online personal connections through the synchronized sharing of online video

2008 CHI Short Paper

Investigates the Zync video sharing system we build at Yahoo! Research Berkeley. Zync enables simultaneous, synchronous video consumption in Yahoo! messenger. We show how our system improves intimacy and personal connection between users.

by David Shamma, Marcello Bastrea-Forte, Niels Joubert and Yiming Liu.

Research Paper

Art & Projects


2018 Microfestival

An artisinal handcrafted small-batch microfestival

Led by Niels Joubert

The Dusty Connection

2016 Theme Camp

Bringing Radical Intimacy to the Playa! A tearoom, inside which participants play a connection game based on the 36 Questions, designed to foster deep and meaningful personal connections between citizens of Black Rock City. Grown men were crying.

Here's our 36 Questions Booklet (pdf)

Co-founded by Niels Joubert and Fergus Noble

Black Rock City Hall

2015 Art Car

A mobile City Hall for Black Rock City, providing a convenient polling location for BRC's Majoral Election Race. Sadly the ballot boxes were lost shortly after the tragic and untimely demise of the electrical system.

Co-led by Ryan Mason and Niels Joubert

Dr. Electric's Festival Spreadsheets, Advice & Opinions


2018-07Dr Electric's Honda EU2200i and Yamaha EF2000is Recommended Burning Man Generator Setup and External Run Fuel Tank Parts List
2018-07Dr. Electric's Generator Calculators: Effective Power, Apparent Load & Fuel Consumption, Sound Level, and Generator Comparisions
2018-07Dr. Electric's Comprehensive Generator Comparison Chart (Quiet, Pure Sine Wave)


2018-07Dr. Electric's 12V Music Setup, inspired by Igor's 12V Music Manifesto


2018-11An Incomplete Overview of Fire Effects

Artifacts I Like from the Community

Notes listed here are either public domain or reproduced with the permission of the author.
2016-11Coyote Nose: Tales of the Early Desert Carnies of Burning Man
2016-presentAccuracy Third: An Oral History of Black Rock City

Favorite Bon Vivant Spots