Michael F. Cohen , Principal Researcher, joined Microsoft Research in 1994 from Princeton University where he served on the faculty of Computer Science. Michael received The 1998 SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award for his contributions to the Radiosity method for image synthesis. Dr. Cohen also served as paper's chair for SIGGRAPH '98.

Michael received his Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Utah. He also holds undergraduate degrees in Art and Civil Engineering from Beloit College and Rutgers University respectively, and an M.S. in Computer Graphics from Cornell. Dr. Cohen also served on the Architecture faculty at Cornell University and was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Utah.

His early work at Cornell and Princeton on the radiosity method for realistic image synthesis is discussed in his book "Radiosity and Image Synthesis" (co-authored by John R. Wallace). His work at the University of Utah focused on spacetime control for linked figure animation

At Microsoft, Dr. Cohen has worked on a number of projects ranging from image based rendering, to animation, to camera control, to more artistic non-photorealistic rendering. One project focuses on the problem of image based rendering; capturing the complete flow of light from an object for later rendering from arbitrary vantage points. This work, dubbed The Lumigraph is analogous to creating a digital hologram. Michael also has continued his work on linked figure animation, focusing on means to allow simulated creatures to portray their emotional state. Recent work has focused on computational photography applications. These ranged from creating new methods for low bandwidth teleconferencing, segmentation and matting of images and video, technologies for combining a set of "image stacks" as a Photomontage , to the creation of very high resolution panoramas.