INTERVIEWS

Peter SchröderPeter Schröder is Professor of Computer Science and Applied and Computational Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology. Prof. Schröder is a world expert in the area of wavelet based methods for computer graphics. He is the recipient of this years Computer Graphics Achievement Award for his outstanding work in multiresolution methods in geometric modeling using wavelets.

What first drew you to computer graphics? Watching the movie Tron. This was in '82-'83 or so-- I was totally fascinated by the movie and I wanted to learn more about it. I went to my first SIGGRAPH in 1984-- somehow I found out that this was the right place to go. I registered and went on my own volition.
Do you have any favorite computer graphics mentors?

My advisor, Pat Hanrahan, is the obvious person to mention; he also won a SIGGRAPH prize this year. I had applied to graduate school in various places. Princeton was where Pat was at the time. I had heard of him, and and met him at conferences before. I pegged him as one of the people in the field who had very strongly and consistently contributed to the field, so I was excited to go to the school he was at.

Wolfgang Kruger was a role model and early supporter for me when I was at the Media Lab. 1986 was when I first met him.

What was the first time you contributed to SIGGRAPH?

My first paper was in 1993. I had taught in courses before that, but the paper was on the form factor between two polygons. It solved a problem first proposed in 1760 by Lambert-- the namesake of Lambertian shading.

What year/city was your first SIGGRAPH? Which was most intense? Why?

1984 was my first SIGGRAPH, and it was in Minneapolis.

What contributions to SIGGRAPH are you most proud of? I don't have a good answer for that. I don't want to single out any one thing. That's not how it works. These are contributions made over years; you keep the stream going and that's how you sustain impact in the community. I really feel that it is the sequence, the body of work, and not one single thing that is important.
What's your favorite thing at this year or last year's SIGGRAPH? Mostly seeing lots of friends again. In terms of papers, SIGGRAPH is so big, so yes, I go to the talks, but it's just content. The really wonderful thing is running into people, catching up, and learning about new things that way.
What near/intermediate developments in CG do you look forward to? Discete differential geometry. This is a body of work with applications in surface processing, simulation, cloth on digital characters, for instance. Rather than formulating a problem in a continuous way and discretizing, you come up with systematic and mathematical discrete laws to accomplish the same tasks. I think there are some very nice and elegant solutions in this realm.
Do you think that the recogntion in the SIGGRAPH community is important?

I don't think it has an impact on the area a particular person is working on. It is a recognition by a community of peers to say that this person has consistently influenced a lot of people, and has had impact on areas of application.

In academia, you are measured by how many people build upon your work. So, I certainly see the honor of having my peers recognize my work as the foundation for much better work that follows.

It is important to mention that the work being recognized is done in collaboration with students, colleagues and collaborators around the world, a larger set of people without whom not of this work would be possible. I think it is the work that is recognized and that I am merely a representative of that work.

 

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Last updated 8/11/03.

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