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Cohen to Receive SIGGRAPH 1998 Computer Graphics Achievement Award

For immediate release
11 June 1998

For further information:
Sheila Hoffmeyer

(June 11, 1998) - ACM SIGGRAPH announced that the 1998 Computer Graphics Achievement Award is being presented to Michael F. Cohen for the development of practical radiosity methods for realistic image synthesis. His research is the key to making radiosity usable with complex scenes. The beautiful images created by and his colleagues still remain among the state-of-the-art o both technically and artistically. The Computer Graphics Achievement is presented by SIGGRAPH each year to one recipient to recognize innovative work that has helped push the state-of-the-art in computer graphics.

The award will be presented to Cohen at SIGGRAPH 98, the 25th International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, 19-24 July in Orlando, Florida. Cohen is the Papers chair of the SIGGRAPH 98 conference technical program.

Cohen's first major achievement was the development of the hemi-cube algorithm for computing form factors in the presence of occlusion. Soon afterward he developed the progressive refinement radiosity algorithm. By reordering light bounces to match their relative contribution to the final radiosity solution, images could be relatively quickly generated and gracefully refined. He also developed other major extensions to radiosity: adaptive meshing, an extension to dynamic environments; and wavelet radiosity. Cohen also extended the radiosity algorithm to include specular in addition to diffuse reflection, and was involved in one of the few studies to quantitatively compare real and synthetic imagery. Cohen showed how inverse methods could be used to control light sources to achieve the desired effect in the final image. His work in radiosity culminated in the publication, with John Wallace, of iRadiosity and Realistic Image Synthesis.

Cohen has contributed to many other areas of computer graphics, most notably animation, technical illustration, and image-based rendering. For computer animation, he has developed dynamic and kinematic specifications of motion, interactive and hierarchical space-time control algorithms, and the automatic and efficient generation of motion and camera parameters. For illustration, he developed an early system to create informative technical illustrations of mechanical parts. His recent contribution on the lumigraph and layered depth images is seminal in the relatively new specialty of computer graphics o image-based rendering.

His work has unusual breadth and creativity attributable to his multi-disciplinary background and approach to problems. Cohen holds undergraduate degrees in Art and Civil Engineering from Beloit College, a M.S. in Computer Graphics from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Utah. Michael was a faculty member at Cornell University, University of Utah, and Princeton University before accepting his current position at Microsoft, where he is a senior researcher and manager of the computer graphics group.

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