ACM SIGGRAPH Executive Committee May 2003 Meeting

May 5, 2003, Montreal Canada

Judy Brown
Alain Chesnais
Gudrun Enger
Thierry Frey
Werner Hansmann
Barb Helfer
Masa Inakage
Erica Johnson
Jacki Morie
Scott Owen
Garry Paxinos
Dino Schweitzer
Stephen Spencer

Guest: Juan Pablo di Lelle.

The President called the meeting to order at 9:15 AM.

Meeting Minutes

Motion (Brown Frey) To approve the March Executive Committee conference call minutes.

Approved (10,0,0)

Keeping our members better informed

There was a discussion on what we might do to keep our members better informed about our activities and any changes within the organization or the annual conference. There is quite a bit of material online, but people don't necessarily know it exists or where to find it. It was suggested that we try a periodic (monthly or quarterly) brief email to members with updates on activities throughout the organization.

Conference Management Model

A task force has reviewed the Conference Management Model and updated it to make sure the document reflected current practice. The model had been altered in discussion at the time it was approved by the Executive Committee, but these changes had not been implemented in writing at the time. The current Conference Management Model is online at

There was additional discussion about some of the changes within the annual conference for this year and next year, including the shorter, 5-day time, Sunday through Thursday. This will be evaluated after SIGGRAPH 2003. It was further noted that the courses program, while shorter than very recent years, is now equal to that of SIGGRAPH 97. So, while the perception is that the content has been decreased, the content level remains high.

EC Conference Activities

There was a discussion of the locations of the organizational booth and of the societies with whom we have relations. We will not have student volunteers at our booth this year, and all EC members are expected to work at the booth at least four hours. There will not be a Member Forum held during the conference week this year, and the Executive Committee will meet all day on Friday, August 1, 2003. Executive Committee meetings are open to all members.

Executive Committee Representative to Conference Advisory Group

There are two representatives from the Executive Committee (EC) to the Conference Advisory Group (CAG) to provide advice and guidance on the strategic directions of the organization and to help determining the strategic direction of the annual conference. The policy for this is online at

There were two candidates, Judy Brown and Gudrun Enger for a two year term, beginning July 1, 2003. Gudrun, who is currently serving in this position, was selected to serve a second term.

SIGGRAPH Proceedings as Issue of Transactions On Graphics

We have published the Proceedings from the annual conference as a special issue of ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG) for two years, and this has increased the visibility and status of papers for tenure seeking professors. Stephen Spencer, Director for Publications, brought forward a plan to continue this relationship with TOG. Recent SIGGRAPH Papers Chairs and the current and past Editor in Chief of TOG all support continuation of the arrangement. The research community also supports the change. There is some increased workload for contributors, with an additional review cycle. The Proceedings will include a one-page advertisement for ACM TOG to increase awareness of the publication for conference attendees who may not be aware of it.

Motion (Spencer, Brown) To continue the relationship with ACM TOG permanently to publish the Proceedings from the annual SIGGRAPH Conference as an issue of TOG.

Approved (10,0, 0)

SIGGRAPH 2003 Budget

ACM Executive Committee asked for additional cuts from the SIGGRAPH 2003 budget before they would approve it, and. the conference came up with an additional $200,000 in cost reductions. ACM will do accounting for routine services and will provide support for the administration of Request for Proposal (RFP) process for future contracts. The new budget will break even with $335,000 contingency, and it was approved by the ACM Executive Committee. Exhibits look like they will meet projections. Exhibits are budgeted for 65,000 square feet, and at this time, 57,000 square feet have been sold.

Alain Chesnais was commended for an excellent job working with the ACM Executive Committee. To get budgets approved in these financially difficult times, it is important to work with ACM Headquarters staff to present a realistic proposal. Alain thanked the SIGGRAPH 2003 Conference Chair, Alyn Rockwood, and the SIGGRAPH 2003 Conference Committee for making the difficult decisions required to reduce their budget to a level lower than any SIGGRAPH Conference since 1994. The SIGGRAPH 2004 preliminary budget is on the June agenda for the ACM Executive Committee meeting. After actuals are available for SIGGRAPH 2003, the SIGGRAPH 2004 budget will be revised if necessary.


There was a discussion of an underground web community of 20,000 members, 5K, founded by some web graphics professionals in Canada. This is essentially a competition to create the "coolest" website in 5 kilobytes of code. The founders do not have time to maintain this anymore and want to give it away. There was discussion of whether ACM SIGGRAPH should take it over to enhance the web graphics program. It could be part of the web graphics program, and we could host the competition on There were some questions about content issues. Rhonda Schauer will be our liaison to this community and a subcommittee member of the SIGGRAPH 2004 web graphics program. She will continue the discussion and come back to the Executive Committee with a proposal for future directions.

Graphic Identity Task Force.

This task force was comprised of Gudrun Enger, Thierry Frey, Scott Owen, Dena Slothower, Jamie Mohler and Sheila Hoffmeyer and was charged with coming up with a new graphic identity to be used both for the organization and for future conferences. It was felt that this would eliminate the need to design a new logo each year for the conference and better unify the conference and organization. They reviewed the logos and treatments presented by Q, Inc. and presented one design with a variety of color options and shaded vs. flat treatment. A policy needs to be drawn up regarding options an individual conference will have for treatment of the logo, such as color, and texture. There will not be an option of text font or omitting text. The Conference Advisory Group voted to accept this logo for SIGGRAPH 2004.

Action Item: Gudrun Enger to work with Q and get the requested colors and position with the ACM logo online for Executive Committee to see.

Motion (Enger Hansmann) To accept this logo as the new ACM SIGGRAPH organization logo, with color treatment options to be determined later.

Approved ( 9,0,1, Abstain Brown)

We would also need ACM approval. Any logo approved by the Executive Committee would need to be forwarded to the ACM Office for Policy and Administration for endorsement.

Gudrun Enger and the task force were thanked for their work on this project.

Membership Fees discussion

There was a discussion of whether our member dues should be raised. Dues are set at a rate to cover the cost of member benefits plus approximately 25% of Executive Committee operating expenses, with the remaining operating expenses coming from conference income. Erica Johnson and Daren Ramdin sent out a Membership, Publications, and Operations analysis.

Alain Chesnais pointed out that we also get income from the ACM Digital Library now, and that this amount is based on the frequency of downloads of the SIGGRAPH material in the Digital Library. Our members have free access to this SIGGRAPH material, and we need to encourage them to access it more often.

Most chapter members are not ACM or ACM SIGGRAPH members. A chapters committee looked at membership models but could not come to a consensus on a model that was acceptable to all. It was suggested that chapters members be given an electronic membership that would give them very limited access to the web site and allow them to see what they could have if they were members.

Action Item: Alain Chesnais to appoint a task force to review the current membership dues model. This task force should include the newly elected Treasurer, the President and Director for Publications

Action Item: Gudrun Enger to secure a proposal on cost for development of a members only web site.

Multi-year memberships

The idea of multi-year memberships was discussed because we have poor retention after one year memberships and very good retention after multiple year memberships. This needs further financial analysis. ACM collateral does not support this type of program, however, they will process it.

Action Item: The newly elected treasurer should look into this also.

Electronic Support for Related Societies and Symposia

ANZGraph, in Australia and New Zealand, and Afrigraph, in Southern Africa, have had very successful conferences and are forming as regional organizations. They have asked for additional support on Because this would be an expense, we need to define policies for what kind of support we can give to our symposia and other societies. We are not in a position to offer this level of services at this time, but we need to evaluate what level of service we are able to provide. The systems group needs to define the cost for various services.

SIGCHI Request

SIGCHI has proposed closer collaboration between the organizations, such as an exchange of panels, or membership materials.. There is already a booth exchange at the conferences. This is a liaison with another organization, and falls within the responsibility of the Vice President. Barb Helfer will follow up on this.

Coons Award

The Coons Award winners will now receive a commissioned mathematical sculpture rather than cash, and the design has been finished. Seven pieces were ordered for 2002-2003, with former Coons Awards winners having the opportunity to purchase one. The question was raised as to whether we should buy additional sculptures at this time and whether ACM SIGGRAPH owns the mold.

Action Item: Barb Helfer to investigate further and report back to the Executive Committee. She and the President, Alain Chesnais, can make the decision as to whether it is necessary and affordable to order more at this time..

National Research Council

ACM SIGGRAPH previously allocated $50,000 as seed funding to have a National Research Council (NRC) study on computer graphics research. The goal was to have a formal NRC panel report supporting the importance of computer graphics research that could help influence organizations like National Science Foundations and policy makers to allocate future funding to support his type of research. This is to be an international effort, despite the title of NRC. It was expected that NRC would raise the additional funds necessary, up to $300,000. They were not successful in raising the additional funds because the attention and funding in Washington has been focused on other areas, and ACM SIGGRAPH had suggested that the funds be returned in July if there has been no activity.

NRC is now proposing that they use the $50,000 from SIGGRAPH to support a planning workshop in Utah to produce such a paper. Here is the proposal:

The Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council proposes to hold a planning workshop on research challenges in computer graphics. Sponsored by SIGGRAPH, the workshop will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, on DATE (late summer/early fall). The workshop will be chaired by Dr. Elaine Cohen, a noted expert in computer graphics, who is also a member of our Board.

The purpose of the workshop is to identify compelling research needs in computer graphics, highlighting those that promise significant returns due to the scope, scale, or breadth of their potential applications. The workshop will examine research needs in both core areas of computer graphics (such as modeling and rendering) and in application areas such as defense, entertainment, medicine, manufacturing, and scientific visualization to identify those research areas that can be leveraged broadly. The workshop participants will consider such questions as:

(1) what is computer graphics?

(2) what technical advances and research are required to enable computer graphics to serve a growing range of needs?

(3) what unsolved problems remain within the field of computer graphics and are they being adequately addressed? (4) what new capabilities do advanced computing and communications provide that may drive computer graphics applications?

(5) how can the most promising research issues be best addressed?

(6) what are the complementary roles of industry, government, and universities in meeting future challenges?

(7) what are the benefits of research in different areas of computer graphics?

To encourage participation by all attendees, we are limiting attendance to approximately 25(?) experts from the federal government, academia, and industry. Most sessions will begin with one expert who will provide a brief survey of some of the relevant key issues, with the large majority of time reserved for all participants to contribute to the discussion. We ask each participant to bring a few transparencies or handouts that address one or two of the most critical issues from your perspective.

The output of the workshop will be a non-reviewed white paper of approximately 10 pages that will summarize the discussions. This paper will be used to frame the key issues to be addressed by a full study and to generate interest among federal agencies and other potential study sponsors.

There were some questions about the selection criteria for participation and dissemination. The item was tabled until the June Conference Call to get the information to the Executive Committee.

Action Item: Alain Chesnais to send out the original proposal for the study to Executive Committee

Support for authors to attend small conferences

There was a discussion of whether we could support authors who have a paper accepted but cannot afford to attend the conference. Some of the other SIGs have a program to support authors of accepted works, when needed. We would need to have policies and a review committee in place. Erica Johnson sent out the list of ACM membership rates for economically developing countries ( to help guide us in how various countries rank in their Gross Domestic Products.

Action Item: Barb Helfer to come up with a policy and plan for this kind of support.

Web Policies

Gudrun Enger sent out the following web policies for comment by the Executive Committee:

1. Unless there is some unusual and compelling reason all projects should ultimately reside on

2. All sites should be W3C compliant. This means adhering to the W3C standards for functionality and accessibility.

3. There should be a simple and graceful way to handle obsolete browsers, e.g. Netscape 4 and below, without allowing support of these browsers to compromise policy #2.

There was a question as to who decides the "compelling reason" for exemption referred to in the first policy. The consensus was that the Executive Committee is the deciding body. On the handling of support of obsolete browsers, discussion will continue via e-mail.

Next conference call

The next conference call will be Wednesday, June 4th at 9:00AM Eastern Daylight Time. The next face to face meeting will be after the annual conference on Friday, August 1.

Thank you to Montreal Chapter

Juan Pablo di Lelle and the Montreal Chapter were thanked for being our host at Discreet Logic Friday afternoon.

Meeting adjourned by acclamation