AGOCG logo
Graphics Multimedia VR Visualisation Contents
Training Reports Workshops Briefings Index

My Impressions of SIGGRAPH 96

SIGGRAPH 96, held in New Orleans, Louisiana, 4 - 9 August, drew 28,500 participants. In addition to a full program of courses, papers, and panels, and an exciting exhibition of the latest hardware and software, attendees also enjoyed a series of informal sketches (technical, artist/designer, and animation), applications, animation screening rooms, and an art show. Since my interests are in education and collaboration, I was especially interested in the increased integration of networked collaborative and educational applications.

The Conference Educators' Program, held on Friday, has become an integral part of the conference in recent years. According to Rosalee Wolfe, Conference Educators' Program Chair, "The Educators Program presented a richly varied program to a highly diverse audience. Talks covered how computer graphics is used to teach social studies, design, physics, architecture, math, biology, art, and computer science. In addition to university educators, we're moving to serve the K-12 community. Highlights included "Sneaking Analytic Geometry Right By Them Using 3D Graphics" by Mike Bailey, which described a program that encourages middle-school girls to become more involved in math, and "ExploreNet: Constructionism in a Multimedia MUD" by Mike Moshell, in which older students create multimedia multi-user dungeons for younger ones." Rosalee is also Chair for the Conference Educators' Program at SIGGRAPH 97. (Contact

The Digital Bayou featured advanced interactive and graphics technologies, including multi-user, distributed environments. Two of my favourites, which illustrated that participants can be anywhere in the world, were:

The most exciting break-through that I saw on the exhibition floor was the Picker International epi-View, using the (Art)n PHSCologram technology for creating 3D hardcopy for medical operating room visualization. PHSColograms use the autostereo technique of combining 13 views of a 3D object by interleaving strips of each image and placing the resulting image behind a barrier screen. Many art and scientific visualization images have been created with this technique. However, what was impressive about this application is that the medical data (CT or MRI data) is brought in over the network from anywhere in the hospital (or in the world!); the volume visualization is created; the interleaved image is created from 13 views of the volume; and the result is printed on an ordinary hospital laser film printer - all in 6 minutes. Furthermore, it uses ordinary hospital equipment for printing and display, with a slight adaptation to the light box to accommodate the barrier screen. (Contact

SIGGRAPH 96 provided excitement, education, and new experiences for a very diverse audience. The events listed above are some personal favourites, based on my own personal interests in networked education and collaboration.

In addition to the annual conference program, SIGGRAPH announced other activities in education, specialised conferences, and community outreach. One activity that may be of interest to the international computer graphics community is the Public Policy Committee. The SIGGRAPH Public Policy Committee is interested in the opportunities and the issues surrounding the Global Information Infrastructure and computer graphics research issues. The role of the SIGGRAPH Public Policy Committee is two-fold:

With these goals in mind, we are drafting a white paper on "Computer Graphics, Visualization, Imaging and the GII: Technical Challenges and Public Policy Issues," and we are beginning work on a white paper on research topics in computer graphics. You can direct questions about or input to these projects to the Co-Chairs, Bob Ellis ( and myself (

Judith R. Brown
The University of Iowa