SIGGRAPH 2008 unveils featured speakers

Robotics expert Takeo Kanade, ‘U2 3D’ film director Catherine Owens and Pixar Animation Studios co-founder, Ed Catmull, take the rostrum at SIGGRAPH 2008

ACM SIGGRAPH announced the selection of Dr. Takeo Kanade, professor of computer science and robotics, and the director of quality of life technology engineering research centre at Carnegie Mellon University, as the third and final featured speaker for SIGGRAPH 2008 to be held in Los Angeles this August. Dr. Kanade will present “My Personal Take on the Last 30 Years in Robotics and Vision.” He works in multiple areas of robotics: computer vision, visual and multi-media technology, manipulators, autonomous mobile robots, and sensors. The development of EyeVision for Super Bowl 2001 broadcast, based on his multi-camera virtualised reality technology, is one of his best publicly known results. SIGGRAPH switched from a single keynote speaker format to multiple featured speakers in 2007. The move received overwhelming positive feedback, and SIGGRAPH 2008 once again will provide focused content by offering presentations from different prominent industry leaders and technology experts. Each featured speaker provides key insights on the future of computer graphics and interactive techniques. “We are honored to have an expert of this caliber provide insights into the evolution of robotics and vision while also providing our attendees with his perspective of the industry’s future,” stated Jacquelyn Martino, SIGGRAPH 2008 Conference Chair from IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. “Dr. Kanade is a great complement to our other fabulous featured speakers – Catherine Owens and Ed Catmull.” Irish artist and director Catherine Owens, best known for her staging and film work with the Irish rock band U2, will present “Giving Technology Emotion: From the Artist’s Mind to ‘U2 3D’,” which details her co-directing and producing experiences during production of the film “U2 3D”, the first digital 3D, multi-camera, real-time production. “Catherine’s ground-breaking work with ‘U2 3D’ is an excellent example of how the computer graphics industry continues to evolve and push the boundaries for the next generation,” said Martino. “Even the most complex technologies and films begin with an idea and emotion. Catherine’s work illustrates the artist’s process perfectly – from imagination to fruition.” Owens also directed U2’s spellbinding “Original of the Species” music video, which was nominated for two VH1 Music Video Awards in 2006. The video, which explored CG motion capture technology, was in many ways a precursor for her work on “U2 3D”. Rounding up the speaker list is Ed Catmull, a pioneer in the entertainment and film industry and co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios. Dr. Catmull, president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, played a major role over the past 30 years in the invention of some of today’s most fundamental computer graphics practices used widely across the motion picture industry. He is one of the original architects of the RenderMan rendering software system, which has been used to create blockbuster animated hits such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo, as well as 44 of the last 47 Visual Effects nominations to the Academy Awards. Dr. Catmull has been honored with numerous industry awards for his contributions including four Academy Awards; one in Technical Achievement, two in Scientific and Engineering, as well as one Academy Award of Merit. He is a Fellow of ACM, and has been involved with Siggraph conferences for more than 30 years serving as chair of the Papers, Awards, and Technical Program committees. In 1993, he was awarded ACM s Steven A. Coons Award honoring his lifetime contributions to the computer graphics industry.

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