UBC graphics research shines bright at major conference

Doug James
Doug L. James

The 2021 ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) awards were presented on Monday, August 9, 2021.

Dr. Doug L. James, a UBC Computer Science (CS) and Math Alumnus, was the recipient of SIGGRAPH’S  2021 Achievement Award for his pioneering work on two major subject areas: the simulation of cloth by modeling the constituent yarns and their interactions; and high-quality sound rendering, using techniques to compute sounds made from objects, by simulating them from first principles.

Fabric simulation, Doug James
Twisting cloth simulation: a stress test 

In accepting his award, Doug began with a special message to his students, “You guys are AMAZING,” he said. “Often, these approaches were super hard and my expectations were sometimes too high. This award is your recognition too.”

Doug, who is now a Computer Science professor at Stanford University, acknowledged his PhD supervisor from UBC CS, Dr. Dinesh Pai. “Dinesh inspired me, showing me with wisdom and humour, how it was all done,” he said. “The thing that was exciting was that Dinesh had all this robotics background that could relate to the math and physics in my background. And Dinesh just got it, in terms of what was important or had potential impact and how things are changing in the graphics field.”

“Doug was a dream student for me,” said Dinesh. “I’ve been fortunate to have many great students, but sometimes you find a diamond in the rough. Doug is a brilliant mathematician and has so many skills and abilities. I just pointed him in the right direction.”

Multiple contributions from UBC CS are advancing the field

Dr. Pai has always been a prolific player in graphics research and in influencing others. Other PhD students he’s supervised are now esteemed graphics faculty at top universities like University of Toronto, McGill, and Texas A&M. Others are scientists at leading research labs like Adobe. His pioneering work in physics-based computer graphics and sound synthesis earned him an Achievement Award presented by the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society (CHCCS).

Doug James illuminated Dr. Pai's accomplishments via  an interview at the time of Dr. Pai's Achievement Award

At this year’s SIGGRAPH conference held August 9-13, Dinesh, along with two other CS colleagues, Dr. Alla Sheffer (a member of the SIGGRAPH Academy), and Dr. Michiel van de Panne, had papers accepted and presented. In addition, one of Alla’s papers was accepted at SIGGRAPH Asia 21.

The department is also one of the top five contributors to theACM Transactions on Graphics Journal (TOG) -- which is one of the foremost peer-reviewed journals in the graphics field.Drs. Sheffer and van de Panne have also both served as Associate Editor for the journal.

Papers presented at SIGGRAPH 21 by UBC Computer Science researchers: 

Frictional Contact on Smooth Elastic Solids,  Egor Larionov, Ye Fan, Dinesh K. Pai, ACM Transactions on Graphics, 2021.

Discovering Diverse Athletic Jumping Strategies, Zhiqi Yin, Zeshi Yang, Michiel van de Panne, KangKang Yin, ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc SIGGRAPH), 2021.

StrokeStrip: Joint Parameterization and Fitting of Stroke Clusters,D Pagurek van Mossel, C. Liu, N. Vining, M. Bessmeltsev, A. Sheffer, ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc SIGGRAPH), 2021.

SIERE: A Hybrid Semi-Implicit Exponential Integrator for Efficiently Simulating Stiff Deformable ObjectsY. Chen, S-H Sheen, U. M. Ascher, D. K. Pai,  ACM Transactions on Graphics, 2021.

With all of these recent achievements at SIGGRAPH, as well as across the entire field, UBC Computer Science is making a significant impact on the graphics scene.