Faster Forward

I mark each year by the annual ACM/SIGGRAPH Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. Not just by the conference itself, but by the opening “Fast Forward” session, in which all of the many brilliant technical papers are presented, one after another, in a single two hour session.

It’s a very heady experience. The authors of each paper have less than a minute, using words and video, to convey the essence of their paper, and hopefully entice conference attendees to come to their session later in the week.

It is by far the single densest performance of brilliant and exciting new ideas that I have ever seen anywhere, and this year it was even better. That’s because the field itself is changing.

After a period when computer graphics seemed to grow inward on itself (with papers that essentially said “My math is a more refined version of your math!”) it is now growing outward again to explore new areas. Robotic furniture, 3D printed machines, telepresent cartoons, cameras that see around corners, these are just a few of the many varied topics that SIGGRAPH now eagerly embraces.

None of these topics is “computer graphics”, strictly speaking, but that bit about “Interactive Techniques” greatly expands the possibilities. The SIGGRAPH technical community is clearly now taking that part of its charter more seriously.

I am completely delighted by all this.

One Response to “Faster Forward”

  1. J. Peterson says:

    I’m really glad to hear this.

    I stopped going to SIGGRAPH several years ago when the action seemed to be concentrating a few places behind the decimal point. For the most part, the original problems of computer graphics are solved. The challenge now is to see where it takes us. Sounds like it’s time to check it out again.

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