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ACM SIGGRAPH-Eurographics visit to Southern Africa
19 March-4 April 2001
Part 3


3.0 Executive Summary

Prior to this visit, the delegation had only limited knowledge of the state of computer graphics and interactive techniques in Southern Africa. The trip was hectic and it was simply not possible to visit everyone we would like to have seen. However, the delegation did meet a significant number of key ``players'' in the region and the trip as a whole can be seen as a significant success. 

3.1 Key Points

There was more activity in the field of computer graphics and interactive techniques than had been expected. In addition to innovative academic work in the field, many companies and initiatives were identified. 

3.2 Local Issues

Several common local difficulties were identified
  • The need for bandwidth and network stability. 
  • The significant loss of graduates from the region 
  • The need for capacity development, that is, increasing the productive capacity of the population. 
  • The importance of cultural relevance in content creation

3.3 Achievements

  • The Southern African Graphics Association AFRIGRAPH was initiated. The formal ``launch'' of the association and the nomination of Executive Members will take place at the AG2001 conference, scheduled for 5-7 November 2001. An interim committee will oversee the activities AFRIGRAPH until then. When the delegation left Southern Africa, AFRIGRAPH already had 23 members. 
  • Many details of AG2001 were finalised and a number of novel initiatives, such as AGKids were proposed. 
  • Administrators in academia in the region, and a few in government, were educated about the importance of computer graphics as a field, and in particular the need to establish cross-discliplinary links to facilitate work in graphics. 
  • Significant enthusiasm for the ACM SIGGRAPH Educators Program was generated. A number of Southern African applications to this scheme are expected. 
  • Although too late for this S2001, a number of Student Volunteer applications are expected for S2002. 
  • The region is now far more familiar with the aims and goals of ACM SIGGRAPH, Eurographics and ACM, and the delegation now has a deeper understanding of the work being carried out in Southern Africa and its particular local problems. 
  • The ACM Digital Library generated considerable interest. Virtually every institution visited was interested in exploring the establishment of a ACM Digital Library consortium in the region.

3.4 Follow Up

Several action items have been identified to complete the tasks identified during the visit.
  • A reception to be organised at S2001 for AFRIGRAPH. The reception will be used as an opportunity to present the results of the delegation's trip, to promote AFRIGRAPH and AG2001, and inform the attendees (including invited alumni from Southern Africa), of the opportunities in the region. 
  • Alumni lists will be solicited from the Universities in Southern Africa, so that U.S. resident alumni may be invited to the AFRIGRAPH reception. 
  • Travelling Art Show to visit Southern Africa, preferably to coincide with AG2001. 
  • Symposia Committee proposal to fund a full AG2001 committee meeting in July. 
  • Project Grants proposal to provide financial support to enable those Southern African educators who receive Educator grants to attend S2001. 
  • Consider holding the November ACM SIGGRAPH EC meeting in Cape Town to coincide with AG2001. Note: The November EC meeting is the meeting held outside North America in keeping with ACM SIGGRAPH's international status. 
  • Provide links to various open source material - these links can be noted on the AFRIGRAPH web pages. 
  • Possible ACM support to reduce the fixed costs of the AG2001 conference. This will allow the registration fee to be lowered and thus encourage more attendees, especially students and delegates from across Africa. 
  • Details of European Framework VI and American NSF funding opportunities for collaborative projects with Southern Africa need to be made available. Partnership opportunities should also be developed. 
  • Math Visualization tapes to Mr Bunu 
  • ACM Digital Library Consortia to be defined together with identifying ways to provide more efficient access to the material from the Southern Africa.

3.5 Measurement of Success

Although the delegation certainly succeeded in its goals, the following criteria are identified to see whether the delegation's visit will have a long term effect on the development of computer graphics and interactive techniques in Southern Africa.
  • The success of AFRIGRAPH 
  • substantial numbers of members from across the region and throughout Africa 
  • enthusiastic volunteers wishing to ensure AFRIGRAPH is a success 
  • rapidly updated information on the web relating to opportunities within the region 
  • the success of AG2001
    • large number of regional and international submissions/attendees 
    • the desire to make the event annual
  • The success of AFRIGRAPH reception at S2001
    • large number of alumni attendees 
    • detailed information on the delegation's visit, opportunities in Southern Africa

Go back to Part 2 - Schedule
Go on to Part 4 - Cape Town
Go back to the Table of Contents

Nan Schaller, ACM/SIGGRAPH Project Grants Chair

Last updated: March 15, 2002