ACM SIGGRAPH Annual Report for FY 2005
The ACM SIGGRAPH organization has had a healthy and productive year. Our annual conference is back on track, both financially and in terms of participation. Membership continues to increase and expectations are that this trend will continue for the coming years as we add new member services and promote ourselves more effectively.
The SIGGRAPH 2004 conference
SIGGRAPH 2004 , the 31st conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques, brought 27,825 professionals from nearly 90 countries to Los Angeles for the annual conference and exhibition 8 - 12 August 2004. A total of 229 exhibiting companies exhibited in 73,000 net square feet of space.
SIGGRAPH 2004 exceeded all expectations with an overall 14 percent increase in attendance over the previous year and close to a five percent increase in technical program attendance. One of the most striking aspects of this year's conference was the incredible diversity of uses for the technical advances in computer graphics and interactive techniques. In addition, the energy on the exhibit floor was vibrant and exhibitors reported solid interest in the computer graphics hardware and software tools on display.
Science Fiction Writer Bruce Sterling Keynotes The Conference
Bruce Sterling, world-renowned science fiction author and futurist, appealed to the graphics community to redirect its energies to strengthen the application of technology to the betterment of mankind. "Our material culture as it is today is not sustainable," Sterling said. His speculation on what happens when graphic simulation conquers the world was presented to nearly 2,800 attendees. Computer Animation Festival Awards The Computer Animation Festival jury selected "Birthday Boy," produced by Sejong Park, a student at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, as the Best Animated Short. "Ryan," produced by Chris Landreth, received Jury Honors. "Birthday Boy" was selected because of its captivating and expert storytelling and filmmaking. "Ryan" received the Jury Award because the jury perceived it as a milestone in using this new animation and rendering style to tell such a poignant and intimate story. "Ryan" was produced by Copper Heart Entertainment in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada in association with Seneca College Animation Arts Centre.
ACM SIGGRAPH presented three awards at the conference to recognize individuals who have made a significant contribution to the computer graphics community. Hugues Hoppe, Microsoft Research, was the 2004 Computer Graphics Achievement Award recipient. Hoppe was selected for his pioneering work on surface reconstruction, progressive meshes, geometry texturing and geometry images. Zoran Popović, University of Washington, received the Significant New Researcher Award for his outstanding and highly promising contributions to computer animation. Judith R. Brown, The University of Iowa (retired) and Steve Cunningham, California State University, Stanislaus and National Science Foundation, received the Outstanding Service Award for their individual and collaborative contributions to SIGGRAPH's success. Conference content DVD set This year we expanded on the content DVD that we had initiated for the SIGGRAPH 2003 conference. SOMA Media was awarded the contract to create a 5 DVD set covering the content from all of the venues that had formal presentations. The speakers were taped and their slides were captured to create a rich interactive multimedia record of the event. This was then offered for sale after the conference as a 5 DVD set. We also posted the content as streaming media in the ACM Diigital Library. This content was made available to all ACM SIGGRAPH members free of charge as an additional member benefit.
Membership and Communications Activities
This fiscal year has been a very active one for our Director for Communications, Mk Haley. Many new initiatives were engaged with respect to our member services, online services and our web presence. The responsibilities of the Director for Communications have now been split in two: membership activities and information services. A Director for Information Services. Thierry Frey, has been appointed to the Executive Committee, reporting to the Director for Communications, to ensure the oversight of the ACM SIGGRAPH information services.
We defined the need for ACM SIGGRAPH to hire a webmaster for siggraph.org, rather than relying on a volunteer base to support this critical asset. We used reserve funds to fund position during the first year. We interviewed a diverse array of great candidates, and hired Mr. Viveka Wieley as our official siggraph.org webmaster. He started in mid-January of 2005, and our completely revamped website, with some design changes and major back of house production paradigm changes, went live on July 1st, 2005. The website is now Plone based.
We entered into a deal with CreativeHeads.net, a job board in the computer graphics, gaming, animation, etc world, to be the official job board of ACM SIGGRAPH, as well as the JobFair onsite at the SIGGRAPH conference. Required negotiations between ACM, ACM SIGGRAPH, The Arts Institute, and the SIGGRAPH 2005 team to reach fruition. The deal included free postings for a limited time for all of our conference exhibitors, as well as cross-promotion between the groups. This is a one year deal. If it works well for both parties, we may expand it. A beta group of exhibitors went live with the system to upload jobs and put the system through it’s paces in early June, all exhibitors were welcomed in late June, and in early July several hundred jobs posted up already for job seekers to review. System will be the official JobFair database and registration system for onsite users at the 2005 Conference. Membership Merger Proposal The Director for Communications proposed, in co-operation with the Director for Chapters, that ACM SIGGRAPH provide one joint membership covering both chapter and organizational membership, rather than separate memberships for local chapter ACM SIGGRAPH members, and International ACM SIGGRAPH Members, as is currently the case. Due to the huge increase in dues that would be necessary to facilitate the effort, the proposal was not accepted. We will continue seeking ways to make this merger happen for our membership.
Led by Director at Large Masa Inakage, we had a core team investigate the ACM SIGGRAPH brand, what it was, what it needed to be, and how we could promote ourselves. The initiative came out of our strategy meeting held in November 2004. This was a massive effort. Our most important finding is that we should perhaps hire a professional consultancy to develop a branding package for us. Out of this came a desire to more closely align the conference and the organizational programs and highlight each to the members of the other community. We chose an awareness campaign that runs across both the conference and the organization for the 2005 conference. We have several thousand rubber bracelets, each proclaiming an ACM SIGGRAPH and SIGGRAPH Conference ideal being distributed as a promotional item at our ACM SIGGRAPH member’s booth onsite, as well very specific bracelet being distributed to contributors in each venue onsite. For example, the CREATE one is going to the art gallery contributors, INNOVATE to the papers, etc. etc. The final promotional items include: glow in the dark baby blue CREATE navy blue EDUCATE, grey INNOVATE orange INTERACT green VOLUNTEER red PASSION.
Based upon a recommendation from Scott Owen, we developed a special ACM SIGGRAPH Members in long-standing award. This simple pin is the same as our silver pin with blue and red accents, however is completely gold-toned with no colour. This is a subtle and classy way to honour our members of long-standing. We have culled our membership database to get figures and contact information for each member of 5, 10, etc years so that we can honour them. Each long standing member has received a personal invitation to come to the ACM SIGGRAPH membership booth at the SIGGRAPH 2005 conference to receive their special pin.
Student Reporter’s Program
For the SIGGRAPH 2005 conference, we have set up a crew of 5 reporters, plus one lead and one technical lead who provide reports from onsite at the conference to our community. As the most often hit link for months after the conference off of siggraph.org last year, we would like to expand this program into a year round effort to provide an interesting perspective on our industry and people for us beyond just the conference. For the 2005 program we already have quite a few interviews of key people in our field online, and look forward to covering all the action as it happens onsite.
Student Membership Award
Starting with the SIGGRAPH 2005 Conference, all accepted Student Volunteers will be awarded a one year free membership to recognize the honor in being selected as a student volunteer. With the hardcopy newsletter now no longer being printed, the cost for this per student is negligible. Hopefully we will breed enthusiastic student blood into the program, blood that will renew next year.
ACM SIGGRAPH Village
The ACM SIGGRAPH Village is a venue that we organize during each annual conference to regroup all of the organizational activities and promote membership. For SIGGRAPH 2005 we have assigned an official ACM SIGGRAPH Village Manager, to co-ordinate all electrical, network, AV, shipping, signage, layout, storage, equipment rental, billing, and any other considerations that may arise for the ACM SIGGRAPH teams, and guests, and our many contractors, in the village area. For the 2005 Conference, that manager is Rob Gianino, and once onsite, will be the Members booth manager as well.
We created an opt-in Newsletter for our members this year. Very few people, less than 500, chose to opt-in. But those that did really liked the resources. We are working to redefine the effort and include the entire Executive Committee to provide content for the next-generation newsletter, hoping to attract more readers and provide an efficient vehicle for communications with our members.
We are working with members of the ACM SIGGRAPH, SIGGRAPH Conference, IGDA, Educational, and other gaming communities to form alliances. The result of lots of people over the years saying that they want to see some sort of alliance, but nothing really happening. We continue the dialogue.
Developing relationships with peers
We are actively orking with quality teams in related areas to form official alliances, share resources, and cross promote one another. These include AWN.com, the Visual Effects Society, SIGCHI, IGDA, and Computer Graphics World Magazine. This is an ongoing effort to strengthen ACM SIGGRAPH’s role within related communities.
We have provided a service of résumé and reel review, general career counseling where asked. Our Director for Communications, Mk Haley, has volunteered to speak on behalf of ACM SIGGRAPH on the topic, particularly at local chapter meetings. We organize huge sessions onsite at the conference each year for the Student Volunteers to get career advice, and then provide one on one mentoring and reviews.
We put up a blog quickly before the SIGGRAPH 2004 conference. It got almost no traffic. We may revive a blog or wiki in the near future now that we have the expertise of Viveka Wieley onboard. He specializes in community building online.
Podcasting provides an interesting option for communication to our community. With a very strong interest from the general public and our community, we are pursuing this as an option.
Education Committee Activities
The SIGGRAPH Education Committee sponsors many different projects and activities that involve volunteers from around the world. Fiscal year 2005 brought in the 21st year of the committee. We have had three general focus areas: Curriculum Knowledge Base led by Tony Alley (Oklahoma Christian University), Community Building led by Professor Joaquim Jorge (INESC-ID Lisboa, Portugal) and Conference Activities led by Michael Mehall (Schoolcraft College). These focus areas facilitate our work groups based on the goals and objectives of the Education Committee.
Curriculum Knowledge Base
The Curriculum Knowledge Base group activities include workshops and projects that focus on the definition of a knowledge base for the computer graphics discipline. The aim is to provide a curriculum framework and similar materials that will aid instructors and institutions working to develop or enhance academic programs in computer graphics. This year, we continue with the work of past forums and workshops led by Gary Bertoline, Cary Laxer, and Frank Brattain. A working group of nine participants with diverse educational backgrounds and experiences will endeavor to add detail to the broad framework generated over the last two years. Support also continues for Gitta Domik’s important work on the development of guidelines and materials for curricula and courses in the area of computer-generated visualizations.
CGEMS, the Computer Graphics Educational Materials Source, aims at supporting a worldwide community of Computer Graphics educators. Our goal in developing the service is to provide a means for educators’ work to be appraised and disseminated to other members of the community through an online server for refereed educational content. SIGGRAPH Academic Information Index Introduced to the graphics community at the SIGGRAPH 2004 conference, the SIGGRAPH Academic Information Index (AII) fulfills and extends the goals of the previous Education Directory. The AII is an online resource that provides information concerning curricula in computer graphics for SIGGRAPH’s three primary audiences: students, educators and professionals. Please visit our Website: http://www.education.siggraph.org.
SPACE-TIME Student Competition
The Poster/Print portion of the SIGGRAPH Student SPACE-TIME Competition for 2005 is a display of excellent design and technical proficiency. This year’s SIGGRAPH Education Committee sponsored competition was based on a theme of “Bring Your Brain”. Submissions reflected a broad range of interpretations of this year’s theme. After premiering at the annual SIGGRAPH Conference in Los Angeles this summer, the show will be made available for viewing around the world. For more information, please visit our Education Committee Website.
The major goal of the past year was to bring the chapters into the mainstream of the ACM and ACM SIGGRAPH community. This turned out to be a greater task than first anticipated. However, as of late ACM has added some benefits to chapters along with online accounts to help chapter leaders track membership and update chapter information. More coordinated efforts should lead to an improved membership model as well. Growth was moderated while we upheld standards of conduct for the chapters in regard to activity, professionalism, and viability. We continued to charter new chapters while designating several unproductive chapters with "inactive" status. Of course, if there is some effort being made to revive these chapters we will support them as much as possible. A complete listing of existing chapters can be found at http://chapters.siggraph.org/. This public portion of the site also lists the upcoming and past chapter events, indicates how one can start a chapter, and presents some general information about the PSCC. Chapter leaders have access to a private section that presents all the information needed to run their chapter effectively. The chapters program continues to be a successful ACM SIGGRAPH endeavor. It continues to grow and improve. We have added the Traveling Art Show, continued to monitor chapter growth and activity, and learned a good deal about membership issues.
Professional and Student Chapters Committee (PSCC)
The members of the PSCC help the ACM SIGGRAPH Director for Chapters in his role as the liaison between the chapters and ACM SIGGRAPH. With more than seventy active chapters worldwide, a single person can no longer fulfill this role. The PSCC met in March in Fort Lauderdale. This meeting is a means to assess the situation of the chapters halfway through the program year. We focused on the chapters committee’s role in support of chapters worldwide, creating better coordination of chapter members with the organization as well as the SIGGRAPH conference. We also planned conference activities and adjusted policy for regulating chapter's responsibilities.
Traveling Art Show
This year the Traveling Art Show was moved under the Director for Chapters oversight. There were some significant issues involved with the shipping and crating company. As of June, Cooke's crating has been replaced with Fine Art Shipping. The Chair of TAS, Lina Yamaguchi, should be commended for her hard effort in re-writing the artists agreement, negotiating with Fine Art Shipping, and maintaining a professional relationship with Cooke’s Crating during the transition process. Her efforts assure that we can be more efficient in the future. Erica Johnson was also instrumental in financial and organizational issues. The coming year will present challenges in eliminating inventory that has built up over the past several years. Shipping artwork can be costly and there are several shows to be shipped back to contributing artists.
SIGGRAPH 2004 Conference Activities
The annual conference is the only occasion for a majority of local chapters to get together in the same place. Therefore it is a major event for our chapter leaders to make contacts and plan for their year-round activities. During the SIGGRAPH 2004 conference in LA, we gathered at the ninth Chapters Development Workshop. We had over seventy representatives from thirty-five different professional and student chapters. We were able to discuss many different topics, such as content management systems (Plone), CAWA, the future of ACM SIGGRAPH and SIGGRAPH as seen by the chapters. The workshop is also an opportunity for chapter leaders to meet informally with volunteers from the conference and the organization (EC, CAG, Conference Committee, etc.). The other events of the week focus on outreach to conference attendees. The professional chapters start-up meeting, the student chapters start-up meeting were well attended, and the Chapters Booth saw many attendees come an inquire about our activities in general, and the existence of a chapter in their area in particular. The Chapters Party, held at the Mayan, the LA mainstay for many social gatherings, saw over 2,700 attendees. Lastly, we invited all of the student volunteers (SV) to come and learn about the chapters, the organization and the conference over lunch. Walt Disney Feature Animation covered the whole event and provided valuable career guidance by providing a speaker for all three sessions. During their break, the SVs were able to chat with chapter leaders, conference volunteers, and Disney’s recruiting staff. Disney’s featured guest speaker was also a former SV. After having some issues with the LACC for this luncheon we’ve opted out for S2005, we plan to get involved again in Boston for S2006 as this helps in outreach activities to our future SIGGRAPH leaders. We have been a little more serious in talks to potential start-up chapters to ensure that they in turn are serious and responsible. Lots of time and energy goes into building these new SIGGRAPH communities and there must be a strong commitment in the early stages of chapter development
The Rest of the Year
During the 2004/2005 program year there were over 100 events organized by the chapters around the world. The range of activities is very wide: conferences, round tables, video screenings, art shows, site visits, promotion of the annual conference, and boot camps. More and more, chapters organize events with other organizations in their areas and communities. The screening of the Electronic Theater program remains the number one event, often attended by large audiences of 100 persons or more. Some chapters hosted small seminars, others shared meetings with other organizations such as software user groups and local chapters of other computer graphics related organizations (IGDA, etc).
CAWA and ACM Electronic Services
In 2003 Thierry Frey developed a web application to help chapter leaders in the day-to-day administrative tasks. CAWA, (Chapter Administration Web Application), allows chapter officers to maintain the chapter's contact information, as well as that of the officers and members, publicize their upcoming events, maintain a history of past events, and prepare their annual reports. Migrating CAWA to the information system of ACM has just started. This will develop a closer coordination of benefits and membership data between the chapters and ACM.
The major responsibilities of the ACM SIGGRAPH Past President, Judy Brown, are to chair the Nominations Committee and manage the election process. The other two members of the Nominations Committee were David Arnold and Marcelo Zuffo. The committee held many candidate interviews during the week of the SIGGRAPH 2004 conference and continued for a few weeks afterwards talking to potential candidates by telephone and email. As is usually the case, there were more good potential candidates than we had positions to fill. This is good for ACM SIGGRAPH but difficult for the Nominating Committee. The following excellent slate of candidates was selected: Alan Chalmers and Barbara Helfer for President and Werner Hansmann and Vali Lalioti for Vice President. We also had two petition candidates this year, Scott Owen for President and Alyn Rockwood for Vice President. They followed the petition process appropriately, were put on the ballot with no mention of anyone being petition candidates, as per ACM policy, and were ultimately elected. This was the first year of electronic balloting, and that was received very favorably. ACM SIGGRAPH members were sent information explaining how to vote on line and were given the option of voting via paper ballot if they wished. All but two votes expressed were done electronically.