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Vol.32 No.1 February 1998

Gordon Cameron

February 98 Columns
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Gordon Cameron
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When we look at the current state of computer graphics it is easy to take so much for granted. By doing so, we forget the remarkable flurry of research and development undertaken over the past quarter century (and more) which has led us to a present where computer-generated imagery mesmerizes us at the cinema, visualizations aid in our hospitals, graphical tools aid in the design of our homes and vehicles and countless other applications of computer graphics impact our daily life. I've been involved in computers and graphics in one way or another for around 16 years (since my first dabblings at the age of 13 on a neighbour's Apple II Europlus, and implementation of a painfully basic drawing program in 0.5K on a ZX81). It is amazing to me how far we have come since '82, and equally amazing how we got to that stage from pretty much nothing over the preceding few decades.

This year marks the official 25th birthday of the SIGGRAPH conference (Editor's note: although the organization is older - see Carl Machover's column). To kick off the celebrations, I asked François Sillion (a pioneer in graphics, particularly in the fields of rendering and global illumination) if he would like to guest edit an issue which would ask a selection of experts from a cross section of the community to offer their musings on the past few computer graphic decades, as well as look into their personal crystal balls to give us their opinion on what lies in store - a "forward-looking retrospective." Much to my delight, François decided to rise to the challenge and collect and collate for us a fantastic selection of articles written by some of the leading researchers from a wide range of computer graphics disciplines. My thanks go out to all the authors and François for presenting a fascinating view on the world of computer graphics - past, present and possible future!

Gordon Cameron
Software Development
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Montreal, Quebec
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Tel: +1-514-845-1636 ext.3445
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The copyright of articles and images printed remains with the author unless otherwise indicated.

This February issue also sees the debut of a new regular education column, as well as a student gallery to showcase the works of those studying in educational establishments around the globe. Many thanks and best wishes to the new additions to the Computer Graphics columnist family, Rosalee Wolfe, Jodi Giroux-Lang, Lynn Pocock and Karen Sullivan. On a column-related note, the real-time column is on vacation for this issue, but will return in May.

Next time around, we investigate an area that has had tremendous impact on society and the computer graphics world over the past decades - computer gaming. To coincide with the 25th anniversary, an early August issue will act as a special history document tied specifically to the conference.

The world of computer graphics continues to evolve at a startling pace. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane and look to the future.