Janine Liu SIGGRAPH Member Profile

Member Profile: Janine Liu

1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

I’ve lived my entire life in the intersection of computer science and art, which often manifests in visually appealing and interactive content, such as video games. From a young age, I learned how to code and digitally draw, and though I haven’t graduated yet, I seek a career that combines my interests as seamlessly as possible. The projects I’ve completed throughout my schooling reflect my endeavors in computer graphics, procedural generation, and games.

Currently, I am an intern at Cesium, which provides tools for the visualization of geospatial data on several platforms. In particular, I contribute to the open source library CesiumJS and ensure the tutorials and documentation are up-to-date.

2. What was your first job?

My first job was an internship in high school, where I did front-end work for a project at the Computational Institute of the University of Chicago. My current internship with Cesium is the first job I got in college.

3. Where did you complete your formal education?

I’m still completing my formal education! I’m a Digital Media Design major at the University of Pennsylvania. I will graduate in December 2021.

4. How did you first get involved with ACM SIGGRAPH?

Starting sophomore year, I attended the events hosted by the SIGGRAPH chapter at Penn, such as workshops and alumni talks. These events offered valuable education outside of my classes, and through these in-person meetups I was able to connect with others in the SIGGRAPH community and bond over mutual interests.

5. What is your favorite memory of a SIGGRAPH conference?

I have yet to attend a SIGGRAPH conference, but I would love to go once I have the opportunity!

6. Describe a project that you would like to share with the ACM SIGGRAPH community.

For my final project in GPU Programming, a class at Penn, my team and I implemented a 2019 paper called “Dynamic Diffuse Global Illumination with Ray-Traced Irradiance Fields” by Majercik et. al. We learned how to use the Vulkan API for this, but we couldn’t take advantage of the raytracing extensions because some of our hardware didn’t meet the requirements, so we had to manually raytrace in a shader. One of my teammates and I were teaching assistants for an introductory graphics class, the final project of which is a mini version of Minecraft that the students have to implement. Continuing this Minecraft theme, we procedurally generated and textured a Minecraft cave filled with mushrooms, where all the geometry was cubic. The global illumination resulted from the probe algorithm as outlined in the paper. This was probably the hardest and most rewarding project I’ve ever worked on in my school life, and I love showing it off!

7. If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why?

It would probably be smart to meet someone more intellectual or famous if this opportunity were real, but having said that, I think it would be interesting to have dinner with John Mulaney. I want to see what kind of person he is outside of his comedy shows.

8. What is something most people don’t know about you?

I studied Taekwondo throughout middle and high school, and I became a second degree black belt by sophomore year of high school. I wish I could say I retained most of that martial prowess, but I haven’t practiced in years.

9. From which single individual have you learned the most in your life? What did they teach you?

Maybe it’s selfish, but I’d have to point to myself. Many people in my life have taught me valuable lessons, but in the sense that they gave me challenging situations that I had to navigate on my own. My initiative to educate and take care of myself is what is responsible for what I know now, and I would not be where I am today without making tons of mistakes and rising above past failures.

10. Is there someone in particular who has influenced your decision to work with ACM SIGGRAPH?

Yes, at Penn. I had a friend in the grade above me who introduced me to SIGGRAPH. She was on the board of Penn’s SIGGRAPH chapter, so she would encourage me to attend events, and ultimately I did.

11. What can you point to in your career as your proudest moment?

I’m sure that once I graduate college, that will be my proudest moment! Then, getting my first post-grad job will be the next one.