Herzog, Outstanding Service Award recipient
Today a man responsible for giving awards received
one. Bertram Herzog was presented with the 2002 Outstanding Service
Award to recognize his many contributions to ACM SIGGRAPH.
Herzog has been an active participant in both SIGGRAPH the conference
and SIGGRAPH the organization for many years, contributing both
technical and managerial talents. Herzog has also spent most of
his life inspiring colleagues and students to pursue careers in
Herzog attended his first SIGGRAPH in 1976, which was the third
year of the conference. Held in Philadelphia, the conference attracted
300 attendees and ten exhibitors. (The first color printers were
unveiled at the conference.) 1976 marked the beginning of Herzog's
commitment to SIGGRAPH--he has not missed a conference since.
Herzog was introduced to the computer graphics world in 1963 at
an engineering conference hosted by MIT. He describes the event
as being in the right place at the right time. At the conference
he met Steven A. Coons who would become his friend and mentor in
graphics. Coons played an important part in Herzog’s professional
life and Herzog decided to honor the friendship by creating an award
named after Coons.
The Steven A. Coons Award was first given at SIGGRAPH in 1983. The
Coons Award recognizes outstanding technical achievement in the
field of computer graphics. Herzog chaired the award committee for
14 years, recognizing graphics pioneers like Pierre Bezier and Edwin
Today the Coons Award is considered by many to be the Nobel Prize
in computer graphics. When reflecting on his contributions to the
field, Herzog considers the Coons Award to be one of the most significant.
Herzog also singles out the development of the Core Standards for
computer graphics as being an important personal achievement.
The Core Standards grew from a workshop held in France in 1976.
At that time wireframe images were high technology and shaded models
were science fiction. In order for the fledgling graphics community
to develop, a set of standards needed to be created. Herzog co-chaired
a group of highly influential graphics professionals from around
the world, who specified a command structure for graphics. The Core
Standards became a framework upon which early computer graphics
systems were built, directing the future course of computer graphics.
Looking ahead, Herzog hopes to see a graphics world with improved
hardware, software and user interfaces. Herzog notes that current
software is of very poor quality.
A lifetime of attending SIGGRAPH yields a unique perspective on
the conference. Herzog recalls the early years of the conference
and characterizes the attendees as “techies.” He points
out that over the years, not only has SIGGRAPH grown, but it has
also changed. What used to be a conference dominated by techies
concerned mainly with computer aided design (CAD) has become a much
more eclectic gathering spanning the gamut between techies and artists.
Herzog has noticed a move toward the gaming and entertainment industries
at SIGGRAPH and contrasts the exhibition and other shows with the
technical academic papers.
Herzog recalls how far the field of computing
has come during his lifetime. Herzog’s first graphics terminal
cost $125,000 and featured 12K of memory. Upgrading an additional
4K cost $6,000. Jokingly, Herzog bemoans, “I spent $125,000
to have a rinky dinky toy.”
Graphics has come a long way since 1966.
The history of SIGGRAPH: