Hanspeter Pfister Talks SIGGRAPH 2012
Looking at the creativity and ingenuity of the submissions this year I am not worried about the future. And the great thing about SIGGRAPH is that it is able to reinvent itself. As long as we continue to evolve the definition of computer graphics and interactive techniques and allow for new and fresh ideas to be published we will remain relevant. And I have no doubts that visual and interactive techniques will continue to play a huge role in our everyday lives.
What is your advice to someone considering submitting a future SIGGRAPH technical paper?
Read the FAQ on our web site! Many of the questions I received have been answered there, and the process is described in great detail. And then of course produce some outstanding work that is inspiring, significant, and maybe unexpected. Then spend the effort and time to write a good paper about it. The quality of the writing really matters, and I would suggest you look carefully at some of the great papers from previous years. It does take effort, but I can assure you that every paper is treated with respect and will receive thoughtful, helpful reviews.
Briefly describe one of your more intriguing ongoing projects at Harvard:
I am very excited to work with my neuroscience collaborators at the Harvard Center for Brain Science on reconstructing the detailed neural circuitry of the brain, one of the grand challenges of this century. We are dealing with tera- and soon petabytes of image data from electron microscopy and are working on fully-automated reconstruction techniques that are scalable and efficient. The challenges are tremendous in all areas of computer vision, visualization, graphics systems, and network analysis -- I am having a blast.
What were some of the key things you took away from your 11 years at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL)?
Work with people who are smarter than you -- at MERL I had the privilege to be surrounded by some of the best researchers and work with some of the best students around the world. Work on practical problems to drive technical innovation -- the other way around is a lot harder. And of course my boss and mentor, Joe Marks, taught me to delegate, delegate, delegate -- a skill that serves me well as a faculty member.
Would you recommend a career in computer science to your daughters and how did you pick their names?
My daughters Lilly (9) and Audrey (6) already monopolize the family iPad and laptop with their games and e-books. They are learning at an early age what makes computers so exciting: the ability to create and simulate anything. I am sure that they will pick up computer science skills in whatever career they choose.
As for how we picked their names: We like old fashioned names and wanted to make sure their names are somewhat unique, so we checked their popularity on Martin Wattenberg's fabulous Baby Name Wizard visualization. Of course the irony is that both names had a huge uptick in popularity since then. I guess we were trend setters.