Rongjie Lai

Assistant Professor, Mathematical Sciences

Dr. Rongjie Lai received his B.S. degree in mathematics from the University of Science and Technology of China, in 2003, his M.S. degree in mathematics from the Academy of Mathematics and System Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2006 and his Ph.D. degree in applied mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2010. Before he joined RPI in 2014, Dr. Lai held visiting assistant professor positions at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Irvine, respectively.


Dr. Lai’s research interests are mainly in developing mathematical and computational tools for analyzing and processing signals, images as well as unorganized data using methods of variational partial differential equations and computational differential geometry.  His research further extends to the design of efficient numerical methods to solve variational PDEs and optimization problems. Dr. Lai’s research has wide applications in medical imaging, brain mapping, computer graphics, as well as their extensions to data science. 


B.S. in Mathematics, University of Science and Technology of China, 2003

M.S. in Mathematics, Academy of Mathematics and System Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2006

Ph.D in Applied Mathematics, University of California, Los Angeles, 2010

Research Focus
  • Computational differential geometry and applications
  • Inverse problems and Image processing
Select Works
  • R. Lai and H. Zhao, "Multi-scale Non-Rigid Point Cloud Registration Using Rotation-invariant Sliced-Wasserstein Distance via Laplace-Beltrami Eigenmap". SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences, 10(2), pp. 449—483, 2017.
  • C. Kao, R. Lai and B. Osting,"Maximal Laplace-Beltrami Eigenvalues on Closed Riemannian Surfaces". ESAIM: Control, Optimization and Calculus of Variations, 23(2), pp. 685-720,
  • R. Lai and J. Lu, “Localized Density Matrix Minimization and Linear Scaling Algorithms”, 315, pp. 194–210, Journal of Computational Physcis, 2016
  • R. Lai, J. Lu and S. Osher, “Density Matrix Minimization with l_1 Regularization”, Communications in Mathematical Sciences, 13(8), pp. 2097-2117, 2015
  • V. Ozolins, R. Lai, R. Caflisch, S. Osher: "Compressed Plane Waves yield Compactly Supported Multiresolution Basis for the Laplace Operator", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 111(5), pp. 1691--1696, 2014.
  • Y. Shi, R. Lai, J.J. Wang, D. Pelletier, D. Mohr, N. Sicotte and A. W. Toga: “Metric Optimization for Surface Analysis in the Laplace-Beltrami Embedding Space”, IEEE Trans. Medical Imaging, 33(7), pp. 1447–1463, 2014.
  • R. Lai, Z. Wen, W. Yin, X. Gu, and L. Lui, “Folding-Free Global Conformal Mapping for Genus-0 Surfaces by Harmonic Energy Minimization”, Journal of Scientific Computing, 58(3), pp. 705–725, 2014.
  • R. Lai and S. Osher, “A splitting method for orthogonality constrained problems”, Journal of Scientific Computing, 58(2), pp. 431–449. 2014.