Don Greenberg. Courtesy of SIGGRAPH ASIA 2008.
The inaugural SIGGRAPH Asia 2008 was formally opened on Tuesday, Dec 11, in true Singaporean style: with festive opening speeches by the Conference Chair YT Lee and by distinguished government representatives.
Highlight of the opening ceremony was featured speaker of the day Don Greenberg, Computer Graphics Pioneer and Director of Cornell University. Coming from an architecture background and using some of the earliest computer science to generate his first visualizations, Don was basically marking out the new territory of computer graphics. Yes, they did use punch cards back then to feed XYZ coordinates into the computer! Courage to try out new approaches and techniques, and find new fields to apply this technology, were the driving factors for him and his peers back then in the early days of computer graphics. Don noted that large parts of the new computer science research in the SIGGRAPH community are focused in animation, games and entertainment. While the quality increases, research topics have narrowed down to a few fields. Don calls us to have courage not to be risk adverse and venture into new areas of research and interdisciplinary practice, citing examples of applications in medical technology, earthquake and tectonic research, to ornithology where he researched the potential existence of an extinct bird species.