Render the Possibilities
Issue: Volume 39 Issue 4: (Jul/Aug 2016)

Render the Possibilities

Summer has finally arrived. Along with backyard games and barbecues, it means getting ready for the annual SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition. This year, the show is being held in July rather than August, and the host city is Anaheim, California.

Let’s be honest, preparing for the show is hard work. Here at CGW, it means covering the latest technologies, especially the cutting-edge visual effects in the summer blockbusters. It also means lining up speakers for CGW’s “Get Connect-ed!” panel for the SIGGRAPH Student Volunteers, and working with SIGGRAPH’s Computer Animation Festival committee on the festival guide. And this is just the tip of my iceberg.

Yet, my workload for the event pales in comparison to that of all the volunteers and committee chairs who donate count-less hours every year to ensure that the upcoming SIGGRAPH is the even better than the last.

Here, Mona Kasra, the SIGGRAPH 2016 conference chair, provides a look at what show-goers can expect (and what those not attending will miss).

What can attendees expect differently this year?

It is an exciting year! SIGGRAPH, as always, is evolving and growing with the industry when it comes to computer graphics and interactive techniques.

This year, virtual reality, network culture (data-driven), emerging technology, and expansion of mobile and games are some of the growing areas at SIGGRAPH.

What is this year’s theme?

The theme of the SIGGRAPH 2016 conference is “Render the Possibilities.” Every summer, SIGGRAPH brings together various communities within computer graphics and interactive techniques. In 2016, we aspire to create stronger connections among our existing, converging, and emerging communities, and celebrate the transformational capabilities that arise when systems, ideas, and techniques intermingle.

How does this year’s theme resonate with you on a personal level?

SIGGRAPH 2016 aims to cultivate innovative scholarship and practices that integrate, immerse, and aspire to make a positive contribution to the world around us. This is a mission close to my heart; I am fascinated by ways that technological advances and successful integrations of art, science, and technology can make the world a better place.

How has SIGGRAPH influenced you personally and professionally?

SIGGRAPH is a community where you connect with the most incredible minds and ideas. As a creative practitioner committed to transdisciplinary and collaborative modes of scholarship, my work has thrived at SIGGRAPH. Not only has the conference offered me invaluable, enrich-ing, and inspiring experience and knowledge, but also granted points of connection and collaboration with other scholars and professionals across disciplines.

What positions have you held with SIGGRAPH in the past?

I have contributed in various degrees over the past decade, serving on different juries and subcommittees. I was also the Art Gallery chair for SIGGRAPH 2011.

The show is in Anaheim – what does this mean for attendees?

We are delighted to be back in beautiful Anaheim. It is very convenient to travel to, especially for our conference attendees who come from around the world. Most importantly, Anaheim is less than hour outside of Los Angeles, a hub for high-tech innovation, research, and industry.

What are some of the expected highlights of the show?

Production Sessions and the Computer Animation Festival are always celebrated by attendees, and this year’s lineup will be strong again! Production Sessions has Star Wars in the lineup, along with VFX work on several other recent films.

Our highly regarded Technical Papers program will share groundbreaking re-search across a variety of topics – fabrication, displays and interaction, DSL and learning/neural net and perception, to name a few.

The Experience Area is sure to be a hit. This area encompasses four key programs – the interactive Art Gallery, the hands-on Studio featuring a live/virtual Feuding Cities Game, the ever-popular Emerging Technologies, and the booming VR Village. If you want to immerse yourself in the technology, this is the place to be. You will be able to observe and interact with apps, demos, and hands-on labs that showcase every-thing from mobile VR to haptic technologies, real-time game sequences, 3D printing, and immersive realities.

I understand the VR Village will be back.

Yes! VR Village is back, stronger than last year! Not to miss for sure!

Why should a person attend?

To learn, be inspired, experience, engage, and be part of the community! If you are interested in graphics, interactivity, enhanced realities, games, mobile, robot-ics, and all things tech, you’ve got to be at SIGGRAPH this July!

Any suggestions for attendees to get the most out of the conference?

Check out the SIGGRAPH 2016 website for the most updated information on this year’s conference. Also, be on the lookout for the launch of the mobile app towards the end of June. Both the website and the app offer a variety of ways to find specific content: You can choose your areas of specific interest, or an area that you’ve always wanted to explore, and customize your SIGGRAPH 2016 experience. Don’t forget that your best planning resource is the Advance Program! You can download detailed information on who’s speaking and what’s happening during the conference week at