Source: ACM SIGGRAPH Citation
SIGGRAPH presents the Computer Graphics Achievement Award to Thomas Funkhouser for his work in 3D shapebased retrieval and analysis, and his work on interactive systems for both visual and acoustic modeling of complex virtual environments.
Tom has made significant contributions in shape modeling and geometry processing. Much of this work was motivated by the desire to create a search engine for 3D models, the subject of his 2003 ACM TOG paper. He and his group have gone on to develop representations and algorithms for creating shape descriptors, symmetry detectors, shape matching algorithms, and shape segmentation algorithms. Much of the early research in computer graphics focused on mathematically representing surfaces using splines and subdivision algorithms. Tom’s work set a new direction in geometry processing that involved higher-level notions of shape. This has enabled new types of modeling tools such as the one described in Tom’s widely cited SIGGRAPH 2004 paper, “Modeling by Example.”
Funkhouser’s early work on visualization of buildings was performed at the University of California – Berkeley under the supervision of Carlos Sequin. The goal of the Berkeley Walkthrough project was to produce realistic images of large, furnished buildings at interactive rates. Tom built an efficient database for storing the building model; the database involved multiple levels of detail and precomputed visibility data. One particularly important contribution of his system, published in SIGGRAPH 1993, was an algorithm for automatically choosing the level of detail of different object models so as to maintain interactive frame rates. This work has had a large impact on games and other systems that require display of complex virtual environments. Tom further extended the system to perform radiosity calculations and to model sound propagation. In addition to these research areas, Tom has also made important contributions to non-photorealistic rendering, image-based rendering, parallel rendering on clusters, radiosity, urban modeling, and archaeology to name a few. Although his work spans many areas, it is deep, original, and scholarly.
SIGGRAPH is pleased to present this award to Thomas Funkhouser for his outstanding contributions to computer graphics.