The Fastest Session at SIGGRAPH: the Fast-Forward Papers Preview

How does one see everything at SIGGRAPH in ninety minutes?

One of Sunday evening’s special events was the Fast-Forward Papers Preview. This unique forum allows one to find out about the papers that will be presented during the SIGGRAPH conference.

In front of a packed ballroom, speakers have one minute to present a condensed version of their presentation to a large, diverse audience. Someone from the each paper comes in succession to discuss the paper and summarize years of research.

Such massive distillation of research can lead to entertaining results. Some of the many methods they used to present research include:

• Demonstrations: One of the classic ways of impressing an audience on the merits of some research is to show the results of this work. This was done by several of the presenters with awesome effects.
• Poetry: Several of the speakers used poetic rhymes to entice, and show how research so nice.
• Fast-Sales Pitches: “Want your model to gain weight” and other clever marketing pitches were used to describe research in Human Bodies and other sessions of SIGGRAPH.
• Other creative methods include: Using a silent film format and speed-reading

The utility of this special session can not be understated. It summarizes the major accomplishments in this field and allows one to find new sessions, which continue related research that might tangential to the particular field that one is presenting in.

Like anything moving so quickly, this year’s preview did have its events: the main projector over-heated and self-shutdown twice, more than one speaker fumbled their carefully rehearsed speech, and some jokes were inevitably missed by the audience. But even such a calamity was not enough to stop the hurried pace that characterizes the preview, the speaker had to finish, and … fast. The slides were automatically advanced, so for those few who tried to continue and eke out extra time found themselves without any slides to discuss.

This is a unique feature and one that many other technical conferences would benefit from, some greatly. Although only in its second year, Fast-Forward Papers Preview is arguably one of the best special sessions of SIGGRAPH. Where else can one preview 81 papers in 90 minutes?







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Last updated 7/28/03.

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Photos courtesy of Cybershot digital cameras generously loaned by SONY.