eTech & Art
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  Reports from SIGGRAPH 2001

Interview: Jos Stam, Course Presenter

28 July 2002

What first drew you to computer graphics?

I have always been interested in drawing and painting. In fact I did a lot of airbrush painting before my older brother told me to take up programming so I would get a well paid summer job. I started coding arcade classics like PacMan, etc on a Z80 based computer. I think I really got involved in CG when I bought one of the first Amigas that were available in Geneva, Switzerland. Like so many other people I wrote a ray tracer and implemented a simple particle system simulator. Coding on computers eventually led me to study pure mathematics.

Do you have any favorite CG mentors?

Before I officially studied computer graphics I really enjoyed the papers by Jim Kajiya and Alain Fournier. I especially liked papers in rendering and natural phenomena modeling. When I came to Toronto for my grad studies I was fortunate to have Eugene Fiume as a supervisor. He was very supportive and was always available despite the fact that he was supervising over ten students at the time. I owe him a lot.

What was the first time you contributed to SIGGRAPH?

In 1993 I had a paper with Eugene on modeling turbulent wind fields. Unfortunately this was the very last talk of the conference and I did not get much feedback at the conference itself.

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

My first SIGGRAPH was in Dallas in 1990, I haven't missed a conference since then. My most intense SIGGRAPH was in LA in 1999 where I had two paper presentations in the same afternoon and a course the day before. The most fun SIGGRAPH was in New Orleans in 2000 where I presented my fluid work at Alias|wavefront's user group. The fact that New Orleans' night life never shuts down was another fun factor.

What contributions to SIGGRAPH are you most proud of?

Probably my Stable Fluids paper that I presented in SIGGRAPH 99. It describes a very simple idea that has generated an enormous amount of enthusiasm in the computer graphics community. Every two weeks or so I get an e-mail from someone who has implemented it or applied it to some problem. I also like my Catmull-Clark evaluation paper of SIGGRAPH 98 and the Diffraction Shaders paper of SIGGRAPH 99. Both are neat theoretical results with practical applications. My SIGGRAPH paper of 2001 with Ron and Henrik was fun as I got to show my PocketPC fluid demo on the big screen during my presentation. The feedback has been incredible.

What's your favorite thing at this year or last year's SIGGRAPH?

I always get this question after every siggraph. It is hard to single out one piece of work. I usually get inspired by a couple of papers and pieces at the Electronic Theatre. In general the conference itself is very inspiring: I always start coding some of the new things I have seen, sometimes on the flight back on my laptop (like this year).

What near/intermediate developments in CG do you look forward to?

I am looking forward to some groundbreaking work, something I did not expect was possible or something very original, a novel way of looking at things.
Taking matter into his own hands.
For years people have been talking about graphics and simulation on a hand held computer. Well, Jos finally did something about it! Here he shows a fluid simulation running interactively in the palm of his hand.




This page is maintained by
Jan Hardenbergh
All photos you see in the 2002 reports are due to a generous loan of Cybershot digital cameras from SONY