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2017 Steven A. Coons Award: Jessica Hodgins

Jessica HodginsSource: SIGGRAPH 2017 Citation

ACM SIGGRAPH is proud to recognize Jessica Hodgins as this year’s winner of the Steven Anson Coons Award For Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics for her foundational work in character animation, her mentorship of many young researchers, and for her extensive service to the computer graphics community.

Jessica received her PhD from CMU in 1989 for her work on biped robot control. Shortly thereafter, Jessica and a stampede of virtual creatures walked, hopped and ran onto the graphics stage with her SIGGRAPH 1991 paper on animating dynamic legged locomotion. She began as a faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1992. Inspired by the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, she and her Animation Lab produced human animation for a wide array of athletic skills. Through these and other research results, she established herself as a pioneer in using physical simulation and control to produce character animation. Other notable work from her Georgia Tech lab included character group behavior, adapting behaviors to new characters, and the animation of brittle fracture.

In 2000, Jessica accepted a faculty position at CMU, where she still serves as a Professor today. While at CMU, in addition to using simulation for character animation, she also began to investigate motion capture techniques. Important contributions in this area include animating avatars from human motion data, capturing and animating skin deformations, and the analysis of animation in low dimensional spaces. She also established the CMU Motion Capture Database, which is a public data resource available to computer animation researchers.

In 2008, Jessica was one of the founders of a new research organization for Disney, Disney Research, which has had significant impact on computer graphics and other areas, publishing over a hundred SIGGRAPH and TOG papers over the past eight years. In 2012, Jessica became Vice President of Research at Disney. Research projects at Disney under her supervision include work on soft tissue dynamics, cloth animation, animation of non-human char acters from human motion data, and motion capture from body-mounted cameras. In early 2017, she returned to CMU full time.

Jessica has been exceptional in her service to the SIGGRAPH community. Jessica is a co-founder of the ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation. She was Editor in Chief of ACM Transactions on Graphics from 2000 to 2002. Jessica was also the Technical Papers Chair for ACM SIGGRAPH 2003, and was instrumental in introducing author rebuttals to the paper review process. She also currently serves on the SIGGRAPH Executive Committee.

Throughout her career, Jessica has been a generous and dedicated mentor to numerous students, postdocs, and junior faculty. She has greatly influenced our field through the many researchers in the graphics community that have been fortunate enough to benefit from her guidance.

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