Since 2000, Eric Haines, Phil Dutré, Dan Kartch, and Ben Trumbore have been running the ultimate graphics-nerd website: the Fantasy Graphics League. The FGL models itself on fantasy sports league games, where people can choose their favorite atheletes and combine them into a team, then score how well their team did based on how the individual members perform during the season. FGL applies this concept to a much more thrilling domain than professional football or basketball: computer graphics research.
Entrants can choose no more than 12 researchers (out of a list of 680), and can only spend up to 400 "Quatloos" to form their team. The list of researchers is drawn from authors on SIGGRAPH papers over the past 5 years, and each researcher's cost is determined by a formula based on how many papers they have authored since SIGGRAPH 2000, as well as taking into account how many other authors contributed to each of their papers (for instance, a researcher will cost more if he has authored a paper on his own than if he had several co-authors). For example, faculty who frequently publish in SIGGRAPH will quickly deplete your budget (Pat Hanrahan cost 290 Quatloos, Jessica Hodgins cost 100, and Zoran Popovic cost 190), while fledgling graduate students have costs in the 5 to 20 Quatloo range.
Participants must submit their "fantasy research team" in January, by the SIGGRAPH papers submission deadline. Then, in the spring, when SIGGRAPH announces which papers have been accepted, teams are scored by awarding points for how many papers and sketches by each team member will appear in the conference, again awarding more points to an author who appears with fewer co-authors. The person who put together the highest-scoring fantasy research team is immortalized on the web -- the 2004 winner was University of Illinois computer science professor John Hart, whose fantasy team earned 292 points. His team was composed of:
- John Hart (cost: 15, value: 80)
- Alla Sheffer (cost: 40, value: 50)
- Ian Buck (cost: 25, value 12)
- Yoshihisa Shinagawa (cost: 15, value: 0)
- Yizhou Yu (cost: 35, value: 40)
- Peter-Pike Sloan (cost: 50, value: 0)
- Ross T. Whitaker (cost: 15, value: 0)
- Simon Premoze (cost: 30, value: 0)
- Steven M. Seitz (cost: 10, value: 45)
- Michael Gleicher (cost: 50, value: 30)
- Marc Alexa (cost: 90, value: 20)
- Kurt Akeley (cost: 20, value: 15)
So as you watch this year's papers presentations, try to keep an eye out for who you think will be back again next year, so that you can add them to your 2005 SIGGRAPH Fantasy League Team!