Conference Report: 11th ACM Symposium on Computational Geometry

On 4 - 7 June 1995 the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada, hosted the 11th ACM Symposium on Computational Geometry (SCG), which is jointly sponsored by SIGGRAPH and SIGACT. 156 registrants attended, including 50 students. With the exception of the cold windy weather for the outdoor salmon barbeque, the conference went smoothly. (The salmon itself was excellent.)

The program consisted of 3 invited speakers, 41 technical papers, 6 videos in the fourth annual Video Review, and, a new feature this year, 18 two-page communications that were presented as posters or demos at the conference. Also new for this year were conference T-shirts: they showed the breadth of application of geometric computation by displaying two dozen figures from accepted papers and communications.


The 1995 SCG had an all-California slate of invited speakers: Michael Goodchild, head of the NCGIA and professor of Geography at UC Santa Barbara spoke on current trends and challenges in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). (Several attendees wanted to discuss how Computational Geometry could or was attempting to meet his challenges; he, unfortunately, had to leave soon after his talk.) David Haussler, from the Department of Information and Computation at UC Santa Cruz, gave a (mostly) non-geometric talk entitled "Prediction, Data Compression, and Metric Dimension." Pat Hanrahan, who was at Princeton when he was invited but moved to Stanford shortly afterwards, spoke on "Geometric Algorithms and the Rendering Equation." He deserves special thanks for participating in the entire conference.


Emo Welzl (FU Berlin), the conference program chair, encouraged theoretical, expiremental, and applied papers. The program committe selected 41 out of 107 submissions. The full program is available on WWW. This report summarizes the mathematical and applied themes, such as basic geometric objects: convex polytopes, Voronoi diagrams, arrangements, and shortest paths; basic geometric operations: searching, counting, optimization, and theorem proving; and applications to robotics, GIS, and graphics. Special issues of Discrete and Computational Geometry and of Computational Geometry: Theory and Applications will be dedicated to the theoretical and the experimental and applied papers from the conference. Proceedings are available from ACM Publications.


David Dobkin (Princeton) chaired the 4th annual Video Review, taking over from John Hershberger and Marc Brown. The six videos selected (from nine submissions) show educational animations (Visibility Complex, Pythagorean Theorem), new algorithms (Collision detection, Convex Decomposition), and applications (Mechanism analysis, 3D modeling). They were shown throughout the conference and distributed to all registrants. Extra video tapes in NTSC, PAL, and SECAM formats will be available from ACM Publications.


The two-page communications were designed to inform the SCG community of CG software and of applications of CG techniques that would otherwise be published in diverse applications conferences or technical report series. All but two of the 18 communications were represented at the conference by a poster or demonstration. They covered areas of Representation/Modelling, Visualization, Exact Computation, Robotics, GIS, VLSI Layout, and other applications. Thanks are due to Michael McAllister and Gwen Litchfield (UBC) for configuring all the demos to work at UBC.

Unlike my experiences at other conferences, people actually talked to the poster and demo presenters. In fact, everyone I asked thought that the posters/demos were a good idea and several people said that they would be submitting communications for the 1996 conference.


The 12th ACM Symposium on Computational Geometry May 24--26, 1996, will a part of the Federated Computing Research Conference in Philadelphia. Program chair is Leonidas Guibas, Computer Science, Stanford, CA 94305 USA. Papers and communications are due November 7, which is a month earlier than usual. Videos are due to Marshall Bern at Xerox PARC on January 6. Nina Amenta is the video chair. In 1997 the ACM SCG will be hosted by INRIA Sophia Antipolis, near Nice, France.

Jack Snoeyink
Dept. Computer Science
University of British Columbia

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