Graphics Interface  2014
May 7th to 9th, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Keynote Speakers and Award Talks

Graphics Interface has two invited keynote speakers, one from the area of graphics and the other from human-computer interaction. An additional keynote talk will be given by the 2014 winner of the CHCCS Achievement Award. Invited talks will also be given by winners of the Alain Fournier and Bill Buxton Ph.D. Dissertation awards for 2013. See also the Computer and Robot Vision 2014 keynote talks and Artificial Intelligence 2014 keynote talks.

Graphics Keynote
Matthias Müller, NVIDIA

Dr. Matthias Müller is Research Lead of the PhysX SDK team at NVIDIA. PhysX is a GPU accelerated physically based simulation engine for computer games. His research interests include the development of methods for the simulation of rigid bodies, fracture, soft bodies, cloth and fluids that are fast, controllable and robust enough to be used in game environments. He is a pioneer in the field of position based dynamics and has been contributing to this and other fields via numerous publications in the major computer graphics conferences and journals. Position based dynamics has become the standard for the simulation of soft bodies and cloth in computer games and has been adopted by the film industry as well.

Matthias Müller received his Ph.D. from ETH Zürich for his work on the atomistic simulation of dense polymer systems. During a two year post-doc with the computer graphics group at MIT he changed his research focus from atomistic offline simulations to macroscopic real time simulation in computer graphics. In 2002 he co-founded Novodex, a company that developed a simulation engine for computer games. In 2004 Novodex was acquired by AGEIA which, in turn, was acquired by NVIDIA in 2008.

Physics in Games

Physical simulations have a long history in engineering and have been successfully used to complement real world experiments. Main advantages computer simulations have over real experiments are the ability to study extreme conditions and the analysis of very small time intervals. With this in mind, the accuracy of the models and the results are central to engineering applications.

For more than three decades, physical simulations have also been used in computer graphics in order to increase the realism of animations and to free artists from animating secondary motion by hand. The two main applications are special effects in movies and physical effects in computer games. Here, accuracy is important to the extent that plausible behavior is generated. There are, however, additional requirements not present in the engineering world that are more important than accuracy. One such requirement is controllability: movie directors and game developers want to be able to control how a building collapses or what path a flood wave takes in order to create the desired effect or to make sure game play does not get blocked. Another aspect that plays a major role, especially in games, is stability. The simulations need to be unconditionally stable even in un-physical situations such as characters turning 180 degrees in a single time step.

These new requirements are the reason why physically based simulation in computer graphics has become an important research field separate from scientific computing. In my talk I will present a variety of simulation methods we have developed to meet these requirements, while still producing plausible physical behavior. Examples are approaches to simulate soft bodies, clothing, destruction and liquids.

HCI Keynote
Elizabeth Churchill, eBay Research Labs

Dr. Elizabeth Churchill is an applied social scientist working in the area of social media, interaction design and mobile/ubiquitous computing. She is currently Director of Human Computer Interaction at eBay Research Labs (ERL) in San Jose, California. She was formerly a Principal Research Scientist at Yahoo! Research, where she founded, staffed and managed the Internet Experiences Group. Originally a psychologist by training, throughout her career Elizabeth has focused on understanding people's social and collaborative interactions in their everyday digital and physical contexts. She has studied, designed and collaborated in creating online collaboration tools (e.g., virtual worlds, collaboration/chat spaces), applications and services for mobile and personal devices, and media installations in public spaces for distributed collaboration and communication.

Elizabeth has a B.Sc. in Experimental Psychology, an M.Sc. in Knowledge Based Systems, both from the University of Sussex, and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from the University of Cambridge. In 2010, she was recognised as a Distinguished Scientist by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Elizabeth is the current Executive Vice President of ACM SigCHI (Human Computer Interaction Special Interest Group). She is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University's Media X, the industry affiliate program to Stanford's H-STAR Institute.

Foundations for Designing User Centered Systems: A framework and some case studies

Interactive technologies pervade every aspect of modern life. Web sites, mobile devices, household gadgets, automotive controls, aircraft flight decks; everywhere you look, people are interacting with technologies. These interactions are governed by a combination of: the users' capabilities, capacities, proclivities and predilections; what the user(s) hope to do and/or are trying to do; and the context in which the activities are taking place. From concept to ideation to prototype and evaluation, when designing interactive technologies and systems for use by people, it is critical that we start with some understanding of who the users will be, what tasks and experiences are we are designing to support; and something about the context(s) of use. In this talk, I will discuss a framework for thinking about design, the ABCS. Using examples from my own work, I will illustrate how this framework has been explicitly and/or tacitly applied in the design, development and evaluation of interactive, multimedia systems.

2014 CHCCS Achievement Award
Eugene Fiume, University of Toronto

Eugene Fiume is Professor and past Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, where he also co-directs the Dynamic Graphics Project. He is Director of the Masters of Science in Applied Computing programme, is Principal Investigator of a $6M CFI/ORF project on the construction of a digital media and systems lab. He has recently accepted the role of the next Scientific Director of the GRAND NCE in 2015. Eugene's research interests include most aspects of realistic computer graphics, including computer animation, modelling natural phenomena, and illumination, as well as strong interests in internet based imaging, image repositories, software systems and parallel algorithms. He has written two books and (co-)authored over 130 papers on these topics. Fourteen doctoral students and 45 masters students have graduated under his supervision. He has won two teaching awards, as well as Innovation Awards from ITRC for research in computer graphics, Burroughs-Wellcome for biomedical research, and an NSERC Synergy Award for innovation and industrial collaboration in visual modelling.

Following his B.Math. degree from the University of Waterloo and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Toronto, he was an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow and Maitre Assistant at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He was awarded an NSERC University Research Fellowship in 1987 and returned to the University of Toronto to a faculty position. He was Associate Director of the Computer Systems Research Institute,and a Visiting Professor at the University of Grenoble, France.

Visual Models and Ontologies

Realistic computer graphics will change the way people think and communicate. Achieving deeper success as a ubiquitous medium will require a more resonant understanding of visual modelling that must embrace mathematical, philosophical, cultural, perceptual and social aspects. With an interleaved understanding, people will be able to create visual ontologies that better align to their expressive needs. In turn, this will naturally lead to ubiquitous supporting technologies. First we need good visual models. A model induces an ontology of things that inevitably omits aspects of the phenomenon, whether desired or not. Thus modelling a model's incompleteness is crucial, for it allows us to account for artifacts, errors, and ontological surprises such as the "uncanny valley". Over the years, my choice of tools to model models has been mathematics. In this paper, I will speak to how little progress we have made and how much broader our investigation must be.

2013 Alain Fournier Dissertation Award
Hua Li, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Hua completed her B.Eng. in Mining Engineering and her M.Eng. in Control Theory and Control Engineering, both at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing, and her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Carleton under the supervision of Professor David Mould. She has co-authored a paper at Eurographics, two at Graphics Interface (one of which received the best student paper in graphics), two at NPAR, one at ARTECH (honorable mention), as well as other publications; a number of her contributions appeared as extended versions in journals. She has been a regular reviewer in Graphics Interface and other top computer graphics conferences and journals. She is now a faculty member at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

Structure Preservation in Stylized Image Synthesis

Non-photorealistic rendering (NPR) aims to produce computer-generated artistic images, e.g., in inked or stippled styles. Many automatic approaches for stylized image synthesis have been proposed, often chiefly concerned with tone matching. We observe that preserving structure in image abstraction can help communicate image content even with a small primitive count. For many years, in order to preserve structural details, we have attacked the problem of image stylization from the foundation of priority-based contrast-aware error diffusion. In this talk, I will present a family of automatic structure-preserving NPR methods we have developed, and show the applications for different effects, including halftoning, screening, stippling, and line art.

2013 Bill Buxton Dissertation Award
Xing-Dong Yang, University of Calgary

Xing-Dong Yang completed his Bachelor of Computer Science in 2005 from the University of Manitoba. He earned his Master of Computing Science with a specialization in Haptic Interfaces in 2008 from the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Pierre Boulanger and Dr. Walter F. Bischof, and his Doctorate in Computing Science with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction in 2013 from the same university where he worked under the supervision of Dr. Pierre Boulanger. During his graduate work he was a research intern at Autodesk Research in Toronto and Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing. He has generated a large number of publications and many in top-tier venues in HCI, including the ACM Conference on Human Factors and Systems (ACM CHI) and the ACM Conference on User Interfaces and Technology (ACM UIST). He has over twenty publications in fields of HCI, mobile computing, wearable technology and haptic interfaces. His work has also been recognized through best paper nomination at ACM CHI and ACM MobileHCI, featured in the public press through Discovery News, NBC, and New Scientist, and has led to five US patent applications filed between 2010 and 2013. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the iLab, at the University of Calgary working with Dr. Tony Tang and Dr. Saul Greenberg.

Towards Mobile Interactions that go Beyond The Touchscreen

The ubiquitous touchscreen has become the primary means with which users interact with mobile devices. With the complex requirements for mobile tasks, this mean can be considered a bottleneck for mobile computing. In this talk, I present my work in extending the mobile's input space from on-the-display to off-the-device through three proof-of-concept prototypes. My first approach includes the use of the device's rear surface as an input medium to gain fine grain and pixel level control on mobile devices. This can be particularly useful for the common one-handed mode of using mobile devices. My second approach extends the input space to the peripheral region, and to the device's vicinity. By means of this method I introduce my vision for the mobile device of the future which can 'see' its environment, in a self-contained prototype called Surround-See. I describe Surround-See's design, architecture, and demonstrate novel applications that exploit peripheral 'seeing' capabilities during active use of a mobile device. My third approach is to extend the input space to any surface available to the user. I present Magic Finger, a small device worn on the fingertip, which supports always-available input. Magic Finger inverts the typical relationship between the finger and an interactive surface: with Magic Finger, I instrument the user's finger itself, rather than the surface it is touching. Magic Finger senses touch through an optical mouse sensor, enabling any surface to act as a touch screen. Magic Finger also senses texture through a micro RGB camera, allowing contextual actions to be carried out based on the particular surface being touched. I present a number of novel interaction techniques that leverage its unique capabilities and show how it can be exploited for use with wearable technologies. At the end of my talk, I present my plan for future research that is driven by my vision of how 'smarter' mobile devices can be developed to improve people's daily activities.

Sponsored by the Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society