Steven Anson Coons Award

The Steven A. Coons award for outstanding creative contributions to computer graphics is presented in odd-numbered years to honor an individual who has made a lifetime contribution to computer graphics and interactive techniques. The award includes a $6,000 cash prize and a specially commissioned statue.

Current Recipient

Marie-Paule Cani

ACM SIGGRAPH is pleased to present Marie Paule Cani with the 2023 Steven Anson Coons Award for her outstanding contributions to computer graphics in shape modeling, computer animation, and content creation tools.

Cani spent the early part of her career pioneering work on the representation, manipulation, and animation of implicit surface representations.  Implicit representations encode 3D shapes as isosurfaces of a real valued function defined over R. Cani was one of the first to popularize and advocate for the use of implicits for computer graphics applications. The power of these representations is increasingly appreciated due to their suitability for machine learning settings.

Cani built upon her modeling work to make several significant contributions in computer animation, including algorithms for modeling contact between smooth volumetric shapes, simulating the behavior of fluids, animating natural phenomena, and creating realistic hair and cloth wrinkles.  In particular, she introduced a new paradigm for robust and coherent simulation of highly deformable substances with particle systems to the Computer Graphics community by extending the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) approach, which she applied to one of the first animations of lava flows.

Cani also conducted pioneering research on intuitive content creation tools and interfaces. She proposed the first sketch-based garment modeling interface, introduced several sculpting-based systems – some for general shapes, others dedicated to specific applications such as sculpting mountain ranges, and developed methods that allow non-experts to model hairstyles and pose characters in a few sketching gestures.

In addition to her significant technical achievements, Cani has an exceptional record of mentoring, leadership, and service. She has served as the SIGGRAPH Technical Papers Chair in 2017, Chair of the Eurographics Association, and a member of the SIGGRAPH Executive Committee. Cani has been a strong advocate for diversity in the graphics research community and has worked tirelessly to mentor numerous junior female researchers and increase the representation of women on bodies such as the SIGGRAPH Technical Papers Program Committee. Her efforts have been instrumental in improving the diversity and inclusivity of the field.

Cani received her PhD at Universite Paris XI in 1990.  She first joined Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, as an Assistant Professor, and later moved to Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble, where she became Associate and then full Professor. She led two joint research groups with Inria, EVASION (2003-2011) and then IMAGINE (2012-2017). In 2014-2015, Cani was appointed as the yearly chair of computer science at the Collège de France, and in 2017, she became a professor of computer science at Ecole Polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, France.

Previous Recipients

  • 2021 Markus Gross
  • 2019 Michael F. Cohen
  • 2017 Jessica Hodgins
  • 2015 Henry Fuchs
  • 2013 Turner Whitted
  • 2011 James T. Kajiya
  • 2009 Robert L. Cook
  • 2007 Nelson Max
  • 2005 Tomoyuki Nishita
  • 2003 Pat Hanrahan
  • 2001 Lance J. Williams
  • 1999 James F. Blinn
  • 1997 James Foley
  • 1995 José Luis Encarnação
  • 1993 Ed Catmull
  • 1991 Andries van Dam
  • 1989 David C. Evans
  • 1987 Donald P. Greenberg
  • 1985 Pierre Bézier
  • 1983 Ivan E. Sutherland

Nomination Procedure

To nominate an individual for the Steven Anson Coons award, ACM SIGGRAPH members are encouraged to send an email to the Technical Awards Chair ( by January 31.


  • Name, address, phone number, and email address of the nominator
  • Name and email address of the candidate
  • Suggested citation (maximum of 25 words)
  • Nomination statement (maximum of 500 words in length) addressing why the candidate should receive this award

Your nomination should describe a candidate’s most significant research contributions, industrial impact, community service, and/or contributions to other areas of computer graphics and interactive techniques. The Technical Awards Committee uses nomination statements as the main basis for their selections, so a concise and clear statement is strongly encouraged. Descriptions of a few most impactful contributions are preferable to a long list of activities.