Conference Chair Peter Braccio Talks SIGGRAPH 2011
For the first time, SIGGRAPH ventures outside the U.S. this year by going to Vancouver (conference: Aug. 7-11; exhibition: Aug. 9-11). Conference Chair Peter Braccio from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute gives us a sneak peek.
Bill Desowitz: Why venture outside the U.S. for the first time?
Peter Braccio: SIGGRAPH has always been an international conference with participation from around the globe and, our attendee, submitter and exhibitor base shows this to be true. Each host city goes through a selection process with other competing cities.
For 2011, Vancouver made a strong push to be considered as a host city and was selected based on many different factors from airport access to being such a focal point of our core communities (research, education, art, film production, games, etc) to having enough hotel space to accommodate a group as large as SIGGRAPH.. And Vancouver makes sense from a logistical standpoint as well -- it is on west side of the United States and easier to get to from Asia.
Plus, it made sense to bring our state-of-the-art content to one of the only state-of-the-art cities in the world. People will be inspired from inside and outside the Convention Center's walls.
BD: What's it been like coordinating there? And what about outside events?
PB: Vancouver has been supremely easy to work with on a local, provincial and federal level with both governmental and non-government organizations. SIGGRAPH has been incredibly fortunate to have had unprecedented support from Vancouver throughout the 18-month plus planning cycle for this conference.
As for events planned throughout the city, we have a few things that we are in the process of finalizing. However, I really can't let the cat out of the bag on those yet. Check the web site for updates as we draw closer to August. And for those unfamiliar with Vancouver, it is a city unmatched for both its physical natural beauty and amazing entertainment and recreational options Plus, August is the ideal time of the year to be there.
BD: Attendance has been down in recent years, yet participants seem to like the more intimate atmosphere. Are you anticipating something comparable to last year's event in L.A. as opposed to New Orleans in 2009?
PB: Fortunately, the economy has rebounded since 2009 and we believe that last year's attendance reflects this positive change and we only anticipate that trend continuing. That being said, SIGGRAPH is about delivering the best quality experience possible to attendees. This year is no exception. Also, Vancouver is a vibrant gaming and special effects community, so we anticipate a large draw locally. Plus, Vancouver is, after all, located on the West Coast-side of the United States and has a reputation as an international destination -- especially true since they just hosted the past Olympic Games. There truly are only a handful of cities in the entire world that compare to Vancouver and we anticipate that aspect attracting people to the conference as well.
BD: What about the exhibition side? What trends are you noticing?
PB: Exhibition numbers are looking good. In fact, we're seeing a substantial increase in the number of international exhibitors participating this year.