Tom Fili SIGGRAPH Member Profile

Member Profile: Tom Fili

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

I’m a Sr. Software Developer at Cesium. I’ve worked on the CesiumJS library in varying degrees since its creation in 2011. In 2017 moved into working full time on Cesium ion, our streaming platform.

2. What was your first job?

My first job ever was a dishwasher at a Knights of Columbus. In my career, my first job was as a developer at Analytical Graphics, Inc., mostly focusing on GIS integration and eventually moving onto the 3D graphics team.

3. Where did you complete your formal education?

BS in Computer Science from Drexel University and MS in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania

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

A group of us attended the conference in 2008. It was such a cool community that it was hard not to get more involved. I’ve given talks at various BOFs over the years.

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

That’s a tough one. There are so many. A lot of them are the parties at the 2009 New Orleans conference. :-)

Joking aside, I would probably have to say the first time I presented, which was to a packed room at the Carto BOF. It was the biggest group I’d spoken in front of so I was a bit nervous, but I was sharing an update on 3D Tiles, an open standard for streaming massive 3D datasets, which at the time we’d just begun developing.

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

Cesium Stories was one of the coolest projects I’ve worked on in recent years. It lets you tell your story in 3D with various types of geospatial data. This story ( showing a space shuttle from the Smithsonian collection is one of my favorites made with Cesium Stories.

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

Oh man…this is another tough one. I can think of so many in music, sports, technology. I guess based on the audience reading this I’ll go with Linus Torvalds. I’d just love to pick his brain and hear interesting stories from the years of Linux development.

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

I have a lot of varying hobbies that include powerlifting, tinkering with home automation, and sampling good craft beer.

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

I’d probably have to say my dad. He was always involved in computers and technology when I was growing up. He always encouraged me to learn more things and take classes outside of normal school.

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

Patrick Cozzi. He led the way to get funding for me to attend my first conference in 2008.

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

Being part of the initial Cesium team that took it from an idea to its own company. There was so much work that went into it, and it was so rewarding when it finally paid off.