Vol.33 No.4 November 1999

Annual Report Shows High Activity

Scott Lang
Director for Professional Chapters

November 99 Columns
Realtime Interactive Graphics Education

Professional Chapters
Previous Professional Chapters Previous Professional Chapters


Every year, each Director on the SIGGRAPH Executive Committee compiles an annual report for the annual SIGGRAPH organization report. To keep the overall report from becoming a book, the SIGGRAPH Chair must pick highlights from each area. This issue’s Computer Graphics column contains my full annual report as presented to the SIGGRAPH Executive Committee. I hope that it helps to give you a better understanding of the structure of the Professional Chapters, the events we sponsor at the annual conference and what it is we do over the course of a typical year. Please keep in mind that this report is for the 1998-99 year so some information dates back to SIGGRAPH 98. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at

The Professional Chapters Committee

In the 1998-99 year, the SIGGRAPH Professional Chapters Committee (PCC) consisted of Colleen Cleary, Chair of the Publications Committee; Garry Paxinos, Chair of the Communications Committee; Aliza Corson, Chair of the Events Committee; Heidi Dunphy, Professional Chapters Booth Manager; Claudia Sumner, Professional Chapters Booth Co-Manager; Juan Lopez Michelone, Liaison to the SIGGRAPH 30th Celebration Committee; Thierry Frey, and Arnulfo Zepeda.

The PCC had its annual meeting in January 1999 in Los Angeles, CA. At this meeting, we discussed a wide range of issues that affect the chapters including: Web site structure, international Web site domain names, assessment of the Professional Chapters, our contribution to the SIGGRAPH 30 Celebration and SIGGRAPH 99 activities. Members of the Los Angeles ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter also attended this meeting to contribute their views and opinions.

Updates continue to be provided on a regular basis to the Professional Chapters leadership. Discussions on chapter and organization-related topics are more commonplace now, giving the chapter leaders a greater voice in helping to develop SIGGRAPH policies. Updating of the chapter bylaws template has aided in the start-up process by providing for more consistent chapter policies.

New Chapters

1998-99 has been a strong year in terms of new chapter start-ups. Two chapters - East Tennessee and Buenos Aires - were chartered this past year with five more - Oktibbeha (Mississippi), Milan, Wasatch Front (Utah), Southern Germany and Caracas (Venezuela) - waiting in the wings. The Toronto and Research Triangle (North Carolina) chapters have both returned from periods of inactivity with new leadership and many new activities on the horizon. Several other parties have expressed interest in chartering new chapters. Among these, Chennai (India) and New Orleans are good bets to become official chapters.

1999 also saw the chartering of the first SIGGRAPH high school Student Chapter - the Seminole County (Florida) ACM SIGGRAPH Student Chapter.

Conference Activities

Last year’s chapter activities began with the SIGGRAPH 98 conference. The third annual Professional Chapters Training Workshop was held on Saturday, July 18 and attracted over 60 people from the chapters, the SIGGRAPH EC and the SIGGRAPH conference committee. The day began with a general business section which outlined the chapter conference activities and recognized the recently chartered and new in-formation chapters. Next, we got an overview of SIGGRAPH 98 from the conference chair, as well as quick welcomes from the SIGGRAPH Chair, CSE and SIGGRAPH 99 Chair. After this, six chapters shared their experiences with unique events and activities. This led us into a second discussion about a consistent chapters sponsorship policy. Before breaking for lunch (which was graciously provided by ACM), we spoke with Fran Sinhart and Lillian Israel of ACM about recent developments at ACM headquarters. In the afternoon, we had a discussion about volunteer recognition before talking about possible collaborative projects for the chapters to work on with one another. We continued these discussions at our annual Thursday morning meeting which was attended by 35 people.

The Professional Chapters Committee Booth was organized by Colleen Cleary, Chair of the PCC Publications Committee, and Heidi Dunphy, Secretary of the New York City chapter. The booth was part of a cooperative effort between all the organization groups that maintain a booth - the SIGGRAPH organization, the Education Committee and the SIGGRAPH Video Review. We collected approximately 300 names of individuals that were interested in either joining a chapter or starting one of their own. Lynn Finch, Acting Chair of the Orlando chapter, helped get the chapters noticed with her imaginative chapters/conference art. It was featured on our "must-have" Professional Chapters T-shirts, tank tops, caps, bags and pins.

For the second year in a row, we cosponsored a luncheon for attendees of the Educators Program. This reception allowed chapter leaders to meet with individuals from the field of education that might have little or no knowledge of SIGGRAPH and the Professional Chapters. Over 350 people attended this Thursday afternoon affair.

Another big activity for the chapters is the annual Professional Chapters Party. Last year’s event was a team effort between Rod Paul, Julie Haddon, Cindy Stark and Scott Lang. Last year’s party was planned as the 25th Conference Celebration Party so it was a very big affair. The event, which was held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, attracted over 6,000 people - the largest Professional Chapters Party yet at a non-West Coast conference. The Chapters Party continues to be an important social and networking activity at the SIGGRAPH conference.

Finally, for the first time, a "How To Start A Professional Chapter" meeting was held at the conference. Over 50 people from around the world attended this presentation to find out more about the requirements and responsibilities of running a SIGGRAPH Professional Chapter.

The Rest of the Year

After the conference is over, the Professional Chapters get to work. Right now, there are 41 chartered or in-formation chapters in 15 countries. Our largest chapters have memberships well over 100. LA SIGGRAPH, with over 1,850 members, is currently the largest chapter. New York City has almost 300 while Tokyo, Central Israel and San Francisco have approximately 200 each. Total membership in the chapters has increased from 3,100 in 1997-98 to over 3,700 in 1998-99. Chapter mail and email lists include over 6,000 names. Each chapter sponsors year-round events in their local communities and receives a copy of the SIGGRAPH Video Review from the Professional Chapters Committee in return for their work at the conference. For many chapters, the screening of these tapes represents one of the highlights of their program schedule. This year, the SIGGRAPH Video Review was screened by at least 18 chapters to a combined audience of over 4,000 people.


The majority of chapter events are the monthly, bimonthly or quarterly meetings that are usually structured around a particular topic or speaker from the local graphics community. Meetings from the last year featured titles such as the following: The Making of Deep Impact and Godzilla, Rendering with Natural Light, Cognitive Modeling for Computer Graphics & Animation, An Evening With Yoichiro Kawaguchi, Applying Traditional Animation Techniques To Computer Graphics, The Making of Bingo, Converging Non-Linear Editing and 3D-Systems, Spectral Bodies: Intimacy in Cyberspace, Introduction to 3D Game Design and Technology, Image Processing and 3D Reconstruction Applied to Visible Human and Prostate Studies, The Making of A Bug’s Life, Why ‘New Media’ is Nothing New, Spatial-Temporal Anti-Aliasing, Graphics for Fusion Physics, Visualizing Geology at SDSU, on the Web, and on the Cheap, Behind The Scenes at Southpeak, Algorithms, Computers, and the Art of Constrained Poetry and Prose, Interact With This! and The Making of Antz.

Some of the presenters at chapter meetings included Bill Reeves, Chris Landreth, Yoichiro Kawaguchi, Pamela Hobbs, Chris Wedge, Jeff Kleiser, Mitch Butler, Lorie Loeb, Andrew Glassner, Eugene Fiume, Tony DeRose and Paul Debevec. Many groups also include a social portion to their meetings which allows their members the opportunity to rub elbows with and ask questions of the featured presenters.

Site visits are also popular chapter events. These meetings allow chapter members to get a behind-the-scenes look at a local facility or institution. In 1998-99, chapters hosted trips to places such as the NASA Ames Research Center Visualization Lab, North Eastern University Virtual Simulations Lab, National University of Singapore Computer Graphics Research Lab, Virtus Corporation, Nanyang Polytechnic Digital Media Design Centre, Southpeak Interactive and Cineric.

Cooperation and Communication

Interaction with other professional societies, educational institutions and museums is another way that the chapters are involved with their local communities. Many groups sponsor joint events in order to expose their members to a wide variety of topics and to attract new members from other organizations. The East Coast Digital Consortium, Bulgaria Association for Computer Graphics, the Princeton ACM Chapter, the Boston IEEE Chapter, the Interactive Multimedia Arts and Technologies Association (IMAT), the Buenos Aires Modern Art Museum, the ACM/IEEE-CS Student Chapter at the University of Texas at Arlington, the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, the Toronto SMPTE Chapter, the New York Academy of Sciences, the National Museum of Beauty Arts (Argentina), the Princeton IEEE Computer Society Chapter, the Boston ACM Chapter, the Boston VR Group, the University of Toronto Department of Computer Science, Florida Atlantic University, the Trenton Computer Festival, Iberoamerican Cooperation Institute (ICI), the Delaware Valley Acoustical Society of America, the National University (Argentina) Architecture, Design and Urbanism Department, the Museum of Discovery and Science and the Alias|Wavefront Users Group are just some of the examples of the different groups that ACM SIGGRAPH chapters have worked in cooperation with over the last year.

Many chapters have established their own Web sites as a means of publicizing themselves and, in some cases, as a replacement for their printed newsletters. A home page allows a chapter to provide much more timely information to their members (and the general public) and also cuts down on the mailing and printing costs associated with a traditional newsletter. The number of chapters with a home page has gone from 19 last year to 25 this year with several more groups ready to go on-line soon.

We encourage you to visit the Professional Chapters section of the SIGGRAPH organization home page at chapters to find out more about the types of activities being offered by our chapters.

Scott Lang
Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology
200 Hackensack Avenue
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Tel: +1-201-343-6000, ext. 3380

Colleen Cleary
Orange Country Sheriff’s Office
6590 Amory Court
Winter Park, FL 32792

Tel: +1-407-836-3963
Fax: +1-407-836-9079

The copyright of articles and images printed remains with the author unless otherwise indicated.