Full Citation in the ACM Digital Library

Significant New Researcher Award

ACM SIGGRAPH is pleased to present the Significant New Researcher Award to Gordon Wetzstein for his work in advanced display hardware and display-specific rendering techniques.

Gordon develops displays that address a variety of perceptual challenges, including auto-stereoscopy, the elimination of vergence-accommodation conflict, and elimination of the need for observers with vision defects to wear corrective lenses. "Tensor Displays" in 2012 outlined a technology that combines stacks of time-multiplexed spatial light modulators with real-time light field tensor factorization algorithms. A computational light field display technology that predistorts the presented content for an observer, so that the target image is perceived without the need for eyewear was presented in 2014 in "Eyeglasses-free Displays." These displays correct for myopia, hyperopia, or presbyopia. The Light Field Stereoscope, in 2015, presented a near-eye display technology that supports focus cues in virtual reality applications. To utilize these display mechanisms, images are rendered with new algorithms that substantially increase image fidelity. The displays are not only designed, but also prototyped and tested. Indeed, several have been demonstrated in the SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies exhibit.

Gordon is already author or coauthor of over 80 conference and journal publications in Transactions on Graphics and in journals and proceedings in the fields of computer graphics, optics, information display, computer vision, and computational photography. These publications include contributions that support advanced display techniques, such as virtualreality camera rigs and cameras that capture both depth and velocity.

Gordon completed his undergraduate in media system science, at the Bauhaus Universität Weimar in 2006, and his computer-science PhD in 2011 at the University of British Columbia under the direction Wolfgang Heidrich, where he received the Alain Fournier PhD Dissertation Award. Upon graduation Gordon joined the Camera Culture Group at the MIT Media Lab as a Research Scientist. Three years later he joined the faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, where he currently leads the Stanford Computational Imaging Lab.

In recognition of his achievements in the early phase of his career, we are pleased to present Gordon Wetzstein with the 2018 Significant New Researcher Award.

Computer Graphics Achievement Award

ACM SIGGRAPH is delighted to present the 2018 Computer Graphics Achievement Award to Daniel Cohen-Or in recognition of his pioneering contributions to computer graphics. Daniel's work has touched on a remarkable breadth of topics across his career, and he has especially made seminal contributions in the fields of geometry processing, shape analysis and image processing.

In the early 2000s Daniel and colleagues did some of the first work in reconstructing 3D surfaces from point clouds. They developed a reconstruction approach using Moving Least Squares in "Computing and Rendering Point Set Surfaces," which continues to be influential today. Later, in "Laplacian Surface Editing," Daniel was one of the first to work in gradient- domain processing of geometry. This shift in domain allowed breakthroughs in the quality of shape editing, morphing, parameterization, and hole completion.

Daniel's work also includes a number of new, creative, applications and interfaces for authoring graphics content. Notable examples include harmonizing and improving color schemes in images, hallucinating 3D textures, manipulating photographs paired with geospatial data, action synopsis, media retargeting, and unique interfaces for 3D shape editing. Daniel collaborates and mentors widely, and many of Daniel's students and collaborators have gone on to win awards and conduct significant research on their own. Daniel is a Professor at Tel Aviv University. He received his PhD at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1991.

Lifetime Achievement Award in Digital Art

The 2018 ACM SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art is awarded to Monika Fleischmann, a research artist that has contributed to the field of interactive media art since the 1980s to the present day. She has pioneered the field of new media art, helping consolidate the shift that has of late transformed media into a research-led interactive media practice and a creative discipline; one that is able to engage in, analyze, and visualize digital media and their transformations in the context of shifting fields of cultural and educational contexts. These transformations have seen digital media turn into a refl exive and analytical arena for critical social and cultural thinking in her work. Her artistic goal is to shed light on the contradictory characteristics of digital media.

Her work - realized since 1987 in partnership with architect and artist Wolfgang Strauss - ranges from fashion to digital architecture, interactive design, poetic and social sculptures that intuitively interact with people and environment to explore intersections between art, science, technology, and society. In 1987 she co-founded Art + Com, an interdisciplinary research institute for the convergence of analogue and digital culture in Berlin and the first research institute for digital media in Germany. This space has been instrumental to carry on collaborative projects at the intersection between art and computer science.

In 1992, within the Scientific Visualization research group at the GMD (German National Research Center for Information Technology) in Sankt Augustin near Bonn, Germany, Fleischmann and Strauss (the first media artists in Germany to work in a research context in collaboration with computer scientists) began to develop ground breaking interactive media systems in both pure and applied contexts. Among the projects developed were the "responsive workbench," which today, along with the immersive virtual reality environment CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), is extensively deployed in visualization environments, as well as the interactive media installation "Liquid Views" which has been exhibited successfully across the world. The VR installation "Home of the Brain" (1989), in collaboration with Strauss, represents one of the pioneering VR interactive artworks and has earned them a Golden Nica of Prix Ars Electronica for interactive art. Their work has been exhibited and awarded internationally and is part of the collection of the ZKM, Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany.

In 1997, she founded the MARS Exploratory Media Lab, a research laboratory at the forefront of artistic and technical scientific research on digital media and one of the world's leading hubs for trans-disciplinary collaborations between artists, architects, designers, cultural scientists and computer scientists. As a research artist in a computer science environment, Fleischmann has benefited from and extended the research in this field and brought it across global networks by constructing, one of the first media art archive and eTeaching platforms at Fraunhofer Research Society, Munich, Europe's largest application-oriented research organization.

Her multidisciplinary background - fashion design, art and drama, computer graphics - has made her an expert in the world of art, computer science and media technology. Her artistic work deals with the change of identity and perception in a digital media culture.

Beside the VR technology used in "Home of the Brain," Fleischmann has contributed to the development of sensitive surfaces for the promotion of joint content exploration. These began with the mixed reality installation about the fall of the Berlin Wall, "Berlin-Cyber City" (1988-1989), and continued with the interactive realtime morphing installation "Liquid Views" (1992-93) which originated in the first mirror touchscreen and further to a contactless interface - the PointScreen technology (patented in 2005) which was motivated by a search for alternatives to touching the screen. PointScreen is based on gesture control and the promotion of electric field sensing - with the energy of the body. Electric field sensing is a method to perceive the body in its essential condition.

She uses the design of interfaces as a tool, as space and as a situation in the basis of communicative action and motivation, for her scientific exploration of mixed realities. ACM SIGGRAPH is honored to recognize Monika Fleischmann as an important pioneer for her research projects, based on interface design and new forms of communication.

Outstanding Service Award

For his long-term, visionary, and dedicated service ACM SIGGRAPH recognizes Scott Owen with the 2018 Outstanding Service Award. He has been a Director on the Executive Committee, SIGGRAPH Conference Chair, SIGGRAPH Conference Advisory Group (CAG) Chair, President of ACM SIGGRAPH, and Chair of a Standing Committee.

Scott joined ACM and ACM SIGGRAPH in 1980 but did not attend his first SIGGRAPH Conference until 1987. There he met the first Chair of the ACM SIGGRAPH Education Committee, Steve Cunningham, and joined the Education Committee. In 1990, the Executive Committee selected Scott to be the second Chair of the Education Committee. In 1992 this became an Executive Committee position and Scott was elected as the first Director for Education and served in this position until December, 1995. During his tenure as Chair and then Director, the Education Committee considerably expanded its size and number of activities, and also established the SIGGRAPH Conference Educators Program (first held at SIGGRAPH 95.) With Steve's help, the Education Committee also established a series of joint Computer Graphics Education Workshops with Eurographics.

In 1995, the ACM SIGGRAPH Conference Planning Committee (CPC), the precursor to the current Conference Advisory Group (CAG), changed the management model of the SIGGRAPH Conference from one with two volunteer Chairs to a single Chair assisted by a paid high level contractor. The CPC recommended, and the Executive Committee selected, Scott to be the first Chair to try the new management model for SIGGRAPH 97. That model proved to be very successful (as did SIGGRAPH 97, still ACM SIGGRAPH's largest conference ever) and remains in place to this day. Following his term as Conference Chair, Scott served as the CAG Chair during 2000-2005.

From 2005-2011, Scott served as President of ACM SIGGRAPH. At SIGGRAPH 2006, in Boston, a group of professors from Asia met with Scott and Alyn Rockwood, then Vice President, and asked to hold a SIGGRAPH Conference in Asia. Scott formed a task force, chaired by Alyn, which met in Kuala Lumpur in December 2006. As a result of this meeting, the ACM SIGGRAPH Executive Committee decided to have the first SIGGRAPH Asia in Singapore in 2008, with Y.T. Lee as Chair, and the second in Yokohama, with Masa Inakage as Chair.

From 2011-2017 Scott was Chair of the ACM SIGGRAPH External Relations Committee and from 2011-2018 Chair of the ACM SIGGRAPH Nominations Committee. He also served two terms on the ACM SIG Governing Board (SGB) Executive Committee and one term as the SGB representative to the ACM Council.

Scott Owen is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College and his Ph. D. in Chemistry from the University of Washington with a dissertation in computational chemistry. He did a two-year Post-Doc at Georgia Tech and then became a Professor of Chemistry at Atlanta University where his research interests were in biophysical chemistry. In 1984 he moved to Georgia State University in Computer Science. His primary interests are in applications of computers and in the use of computer graphics in science and computer science education.

Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

Dr. Jun-Yan Zhu is a pioneer in the use of modern machine learning in computer graphics. His dissertation is arguably the first to systematically attack the problem of natural image synthesis using deep neural networks. As such, his work has already had an enormous impact on the field, with several of his contributions, most notably CycleGAN, becoming widely-used tools not just for researchers in computer graphics and beyond, but also for visual artists.

A key open problem in data-driven image synthesis is how to make sure that the synthesized image looks realistic, i.e., lies on the manifold of natural images? In Part I of his thesis, Zhu takes a discriminative approach to address a particular instance of this problem, training a classifier to estimate the realism of spliced image composites. Since it is difficult to obtain enough human-labeled training data to learn what looks realistic, he instead learned to classify between real images and automatically-generated composites, whether they look realistic or not. The surprising finding: resulting classifier can actually predict how realistic a new composite would look to a human. Moreover, this realism score can be used to improve the composite realism by iteratively updating the image via a learned transform. This work could be thought of as an early precursor to the conditional Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) architectures. He also developed a similar discriminative learning approach for improving the photograph aesthetics of portraits (SIGAsia'14).

In Part II, Zhu takes the opposite, generative approach to modeling natural images and constrains the output of a photo editing tool to lie on this manifold. He built real-time data-driven exploration and editing interfaces based on both classic image averaging models (SIGGRAPH'14) and more recent Generative Adversarial Networks. The latter work and the associated software iGAN was the first use of GANs in a real-time application, and it contributed to the popularization of GANs in the community. In Part III, Zhu combines the lessons learned from his earlier work for developing a novel set of image-to-image translation algorithms. Of particular importance is the CycleGAN framework (ICCV'17), which revolutionized image-based computer graphics as a general-purpose framework for transferring the visual style from one set of images onto another, e.g., translating summer into winter and horses into zebras, generating real photographs from computer graphics renderings, etc. It was the first to show artistic collection style transfer (e.g., using all of Van Gogh paintings instead of only the "Starry Night"), and translating a painting into a photograph. In the short time since CycleGAN was published, it has already been applied to many different problems far beyond computer graphics, from generating synthetic training data (computer vision), to converting MRIs into CT scans (medical imaging), to applications in NLP and speech synthesis. In addition to his dissertation work, he also contributed to learning-based methods for interactive colorization (SIGGRAPH'17) and light field videography (SIGGRAPH'17).

Apart from several well-cited papers in top graphics and vision venues, Zhu's work has an impact in other ways as well. His research has been repeatedly featured in the popular press, including New Yorker, Economist, Forbes, Wired, etc. Jun-Yun is also exemplary in facilitating the reproducibility of research and making it easy for researchers and practitioners to build on his contributions. He has open-sourced many of his projects and, as a sign of his impact, he has earned over 22,000 GitHub stars and 1,900 followers. Most impressively, his code has been used widely not just by researchers and developers, but also by visual artists (e.g. see #cycleGAN on Twitter).

Bio: Jun-Yan Zhu received his B.E in Computer Sciences from Tsinghua University in 2012. He obtained his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from UC Berkeley in 2017 supervised by Alexei Efros, after spending five years at CMU and UC Berkeley. His Ph.D. work was supported by a Facebook Fellowship. Jun-Yan is currently a postdoctoral researcher at MIT CSAIL.

Practitioner Award

SIGGRAPH is pleased to award William T. Reeves with the 2018 Practitioner Award. The Practitioner Award is given annually to practitioners who have had an impact on computer graphics and interactive techniques. Bill certainly meets this criteria, not only developing ground-breaking techniques such as Particle Systems and Z-Depth shadows, but also implementing them in practice for use in films like "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn," "Return of the Jedi," and "Young Sherlock Holmes," and in production software like the RenderMan renderer.

After starting out at Lucasfilm, Reeves joined Pixar Animation Studios as head of Animation Research and Development. Bill enhanced Pixar's animation software to the point where it could be used to create a full-length animated feature film. He was one of three architects of Marionette, the in-house animation software used on every Pixar film from 1986 until 2012, an amazing 26 year legacy.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has recognized his innovative contributions to filmmaking techniques with two separate Scientific and Technical Awards. In addition to his role as a software architect, Bill also worked in production, contributing to many of the classic Pixar short films including "Red's Dream", "Luxo Jr.", and "Tin Toy". "Luxo Jr." was the first ever 3D computer generated animated film nominated for an Academy Award, and along with John Lasseter, Reeves was a recipient of the first ever Academy Award given to a CG-animated short for "Tin Toy".

Bill also has credits as a Supervising Technical Director on many of Pixar's feature films, including "Toy Story", "A Bug's Life", and as Technical Development Lead on "Finding Nemo". He led the pre-production teams for "Cars" and "The Incredibles" and was Global Technology Supervisor for "Ratatouille", "Toy Story 3" and "Inside Out". For "Monsters University", he oversaw the implementation of a new lighting system at Pixar, effectively overhauling an entire piece of the production pipeline. Bill continues to practice the art of filmmaking and is currently working on a future undisclosed project for Pixar. Bill's contributions have helped shape the industry and have inspired CG practitioners around the world. ACM SIGGRAPH is proud to honor Bill as the recipient of the inaugural Practitioner Award.