Q&A: Yoshifumi Kitamura Talks About SIGGRAPH Asia 2015, New Programs

Yoshifumi Kitamura, conference chair for SIGGRAPH Asia 2015, recently chatted with Events for Gamers to talk about the upcoming conference in Kobe, Japan on November 2-5, 2015.

Q: Please share with us a quick history of your graphic arts involvement.

A: Computer graphics and visualization are indispensable key technologies to many related fields. Interactive technology, a field in which I have been working in for many years, is one of them. I have been engaged with SIGGRAPH and SIGGRAPH Asia for many years, mainly involved in the emerging technologies or e-tech program where my students and I demonstrated hands-on research on interactive techniques for almost 20 years.

Over the last couple of years, I was serving the community as the SIGGRAPH Asia e-tech director. I believe that the progress of computer graphics and visualization, including neighboring fields, is important for further development of our research fields, which will also be good for the future improvement of humans’ lives as well.

Q: Give us a quick background of what the SIGGRAPH events are all about and what the term especially means for SIGGRAPH Asia.

A: SIGGRAPH continues to grow over the years — each edition has been better than the last, and both the conference and exhibition continue to attract a bigger following.

For SIGGRAPH Asia 2015, the committee has endeavored to showcase works that have not been screened elsewhere. There is more emphasis on original short films that have been produced specifically for the festival. More importantly, audiences can look forward to the best works in animation and special effects from around the world.

While SIGGRAPH Asia continues to be an important platform to showcase Asian works to the world, it is also an opportunity for Asian professionals to be inspired by the best works that the world has to offer. For professionals in Japan especially, it is my hope that the array of works and technology showcased in SIGGRAPH Asia can further motivate creativity in this industry.

Q: Where will SIGGRAPH 2015 be held, and how many people have historically attended in past years?

A: SIGGRAPH Asia 2015 will take place in the vibrant and culturally significant city of Kobe in Japan, which also happens to be my hometown. In the history of SIGGRAPH Asia, we have always had thousands of participants every year. I hope similar number of people, say, around 6,000, come to SIGGRAPH Asia 2015.

Q: Why was Japan selected for SIGGRAPH Asia 2015?

A: Computer graphics has constantly been at the forefront of technology development, making significant impact across the industry by changing the way we think, work and live. SIGGRAPH Asia has been able to reinvent itself each year, much like its host city, Kobe. This year, Kobe was strategically chosen as the venue for SIGGRAPH Asia to help further grow and foster strong connections to important communities in Asia.

Q: Who in the game industry is SIGGRAPH Asia most suited for, and how can newcomers to the industry benefit in attending?

A: We have a variety of programs for people in the game industry, including engineers who are interested in research. For example, this year we have a workshop on R&D in the video game industry conducted by Square Enix Co. Ltd. In this half-day program, they will discuss and share about the importance of research in the computer graphics and gaming industry, how to use academic research when developing games and programs, and guidelines on how to conduct R&D within a game company. In addition, we have a course on game AI techniques for current digital games, conducted by Yoichiro Miyake, which is held both in English and Japanese.

Asia holds a unique cultural range in arts, indeed digital arts. What do you see as the special difference in SIGGRAPH Asia in relation to the U.S. edition of SIGGRAPH?

A: While SIGGRAPH Asia continues to be an important platform to showcase Asian works to the world, it is also an opportunity for Asian professionals to be inspired by the best works that the world has to offer. For professionals in Japan especially, it is my hope that the array of works and technology showcased in SIGGRAPH Asia can further motivate creativity in this industry.

However, I do not see any clear differences in approaches between Asian audiences and other parts of the world.

Q: What are some of the exciting showcases at SIGGRAPH Asia 2015?

A: SIGGRAPH Asia will have richest number of affiliated programs in the history of the conference, including two completely new programs — Symposium on Education and Symposium on Visualization in High Performance Computing.

There will be a variety of exciting and high-quality content this year, including panel sessions and workshops conducted by Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures. Each day of the event will offer something exciting and engaging for all participants, with infinite opportunities to learn something different every day. We have also curated workshops and demonstrations on some of the exciting trends in the industry right now, including haptic media, robotics, mobile applications and augmented reality.

The team has been working tirelessly to organize SIGGRAPH Asia 2015, and we are all looking forward to hosting some of the world’s top academics and creative geniuses down to Kobe in November!

Q: Are there any sessions or displays you are especially looking forward to?

A: If we consider quality of life in our future society surrounded by technologies, human-computer interaction is one of the most important research themes. SIGGRAPH is called a conference of computer graphics and interactive techniques, I think the interactive techniques are still the most important challenges that SIGGRAPH is facing.

The programs of emerging technologies and technical papers have been a pair of driving wheels of SIGGRAPH for many years because it is a conference of computer graphics and interactive techniques. The e-tech has attracted many participants at the venue every year because it shows a high-level of practical engineering expertise, and even fine craftsmanship. This spirit is considered to be the key toward the technology development in next decade.

Additionally, for the first time this year, we are offering the Symposium on Visualization in High Performance Computing. It aims to widely cover the development, technology and demonstration of visualization techniques and their interactive applications.

SIGGRAPH Asia 2015 is November 2-5, 2015, in Kobe, Japan.

Updated: April 7, 2016 — 6:01 pm

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