Mathieu Desbrun

Mathieu Desbrun is the recipient of the Significant New Researcher Award at SIGGRAPH this year. Desbrun is an assistant professor in Computer Science at the University of Southern California (USC), and a visiting associate in the Computer Science Department at Caltech. His award recognizes his original contributions in the areas of physically-based animation and modeling.

What first drew you to computer graphics?

I've got to admit that I am from the fractal generation... I got hooked on graphics by looking at CG pictures generated by Mandelbrot, Voss, Saupe... Then, I discovered SIGGRAPH. I remember reading memorable papers by Tony DeRose, Ed Catmull, or Jim Arvo, and thinking to myself that with such people in the community, CG had to be an exciting field.

Do you have any favorite CG mentors?

Yes, many. I was lucky enough to be in touch with Alain Fournier, Eugene Fiume, Andrew Hanson, Brian Wyvill, and Demetri Terzopoulos while I was still in France for my graduate studies. They all have been admirably patient and supportive. When I came to the states, Peter Schröder and Alan Barr have been much more than simple colleagues: they have been a huge influence, both for my research and my teaching.

What was the first time you contributed to SIGGRAPH?

My first SIGGRAPH, as well as my first contribution to it, was in '95, when SIGGRAPH was in LA.

What year/city was your first SIGGRAPH? Which was most intense? Why?

It was definitely the most intense too, since my paper got in, and I had to give the presentation. I knew nothing about SIGGRAPH at that time; it was my first submission to it, and my first talk in an international conference. Needless to say that I rehearsed ad nauseam...
Good times ;).

What contributions to SIGGRAPH are you most proud of?

The upcoming ones :). Graphics is such a new topic that every year, significant contributions are made. Compare this to physics, chemistry, or other fields dating back to thousands of years... So i tend to be drawn to the future rather than the (even immediate) past.

What near/intermediate developments in CG do you look forward to? I wonder how graphics (as a field) will evolve. It is becoming a giant beast these days, with people specializing in subjects ranging from graphics hardware to scientific simulation of light interaction or motion. SIGGRAPH has been extremely successful at keeping all these activities under the same label so far, but it may become increasingly harder. On the other hand, I am psyched to see that graphics is less and less isolated, as more and more collaborations with other sciences are initiated. The excitement should live on.
Apart from hard work, is there a secret to this achievement(the award) ?
No. None that I can think of. Actually if you ask my colleagues, they will tell you - I'm lazy, impatient and curious.<laughs> But seriously, I think it is 1% inspiration and 99% hard work. Also, it helps to be curious.
So what was the inspiration ?

I wish I knew.<laughs>




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Last updated 8/13/03.

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