Saturday, September 8, 2012

Report On A Very Brief Meeting with the Chair of SIGGRAPH

I had an opportunity to speak to the Chair of ACM SIGGRAPH at the annual conference this year. His name is Jeff Jortner and he works at Sandia Labs (that is his real job that pays the bills).

He very kindly gave some of his time to explain to me a few of his ideas about the future of the SIGGRAPH Annual Conference that seemed very plausible to me.

I asked him if he was aware of the hardship that existed in the computer animation community, the large number of people who were not working, or who had to leave the country in order to work. Or the number of pioneers who were struggling to find work of any type, some of whom were homeless or all but homeless.

I may have caught him by surprise but I got the impression that he (and by analogy, they, as in the committee that runs SIGGRAPH) was not aware of any of this. He was aware of issues involving whether or not CS departments at various universities would continue to hold a slot for a computer graphics professor once the original tenured professor retires, but that was the extent of his or their knowledge or concern, at least to the extent he communicated them to me in that brief and impromptu meeting.

It seems to me that if there is a problem here, if we feel that SIGGRAPH should be doing more (and it is not clear to me that they can do anything, but nevertheless) if we even want them to consider the issues, then we have to do a better job of making the national committee aware of what is going on.

I am a little baffled about how best to do this, but I suppose the first step is to contact the members of the board and either have a dialog with them, or find out who (perhaps a subcommittee) one should have a dialog with.

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