UBC’s Dr. Alla Sheffer is the sole Canadian representative of the 71 named ACM Fellows for 2021, just announced by the ACM.
Dr. Sheffer's far-reaching contributions in computer graphics and computational design include novel methods for geometry processing, mesh parameterization, and perception-driven shape analysis and modeling.
The ACM Fellows program recognizes the top 1% of ACM Members for their outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology and/or outstanding service to ACM and the larger computing community. Fellows are nominated by their peers, with nominations reviewed by a distinguished selection committee.
“It’s an enormous honour and a major confidence boost, that highlights the importance of the work done by my trainees and myself,” said Dr. Sheffer. “It’s also amazing to be in the same ACM Fellow cohort as my colleagues Daniel Cohen-Or, Wenping Wang, and Szymon Rusinkiewicz. In particular, I consider Danny as a mentor who helped me launch my career. Being in the same cohort with him feels truly humbling.”
Alla’s work spans many areas but she cites the Angle Based Flattening (ABF) parameterization method (2000), that is now used in so many commercial geometry modeling tools, as a major source of pride.
Computer modeling in the real world
“My most recent work addresses methods that aim to perform algorithmically geometry processing tasks which have a strong perceptual component and that humans find hard and tedious to do,” she explained. Alla’s vision is to make computer modeling methods accessible not only to skilled engineers and product designers, but to a much wider user base including artists, fashion designers, and beyond. She takes a highly interdisciplinary approach, applying insights about human perception and communication of shapes as well as algorithmic, user-driven, shape processing and modeling.
Dr. Ming C. Lin of the University of Maryland who nominated Alla, says, “I have known Alla for several decades and followed her research closely over the years, especially her most recent work related to garment design, which I believe will have tremendous influence on digital try-on for years to come! I’m very delighted to see Alla being recognized for her impactful research.”
An accomplished department
As the 6th ACM Fellow from the UBC Computer Science department, Alla joins a mighty contingent. “I think we are lucky to be an exceptionally strong CS department with multiple renowned faculty members,” said Alla.
ACM President Gabriele Kotsis said, “The ACM Fellows program honors the creativity and hard work of ACM members whose specific accomplishments make broader advances possible. In announcing a new class of Fellows each year, we celebrate the impact ACM Fellows make, as well as the many technical areas of computing in which they work.”
As with many other researchers, Covid has been a challenge for Alla. “While technically one can work on research projects remotely, the energy that comes from working with multiple people in the same physical space is sorely lacking.”
Alla is currently teaching Video Game Programming (CPSC 427), and in non-Covid times, she is passionate about hosting and cooking for friends. “Hopefully soon, once again!” Alla said.
We heartily congratulate you, Alla.