UMD Computer Science Researchers Recognized at SIGGRAPH's 50th Anniversary

Manocha and Lin's Research, Highlighted by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Digital Library for its Groundbreaking Impact.
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The University of Maryland's Department of Computer Science is celebrating a remarkable achievement in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the renowned SIGGRAPH Conference, a cornerstone event in the global computer graphics community. 

To mark this special occasion, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Digital Library (ACM DL) highlighted groundbreaking papers from the last five decades across ten different areas. Among these selections is a paper co-authored by Distinguished University Professors, Dinesh Manocha, Ming Lin, along with a former Ph.D. student Stefan Gottschalk.  This paper, titled 'OBBTree: A Hierarchical Structure for Rapid Interference Detection,' has been recognized in the Physical Simulation category, underlining the department's substantial impact in this field.

The team's research proposed an innovative method for fast collision checking between polygonal models, garnering widespread attention across various industries. This pioneering work was initially presented at the SIGGRAPH conference and subsequently led to the development of a software package called RAPID. Impressively, RAPID has been downloaded by over 200,000 users worldwide and licensed by more than 40 commercial vendors. 

"We never expected that this work could be widely used in different research communities,” said Manocha, Paul Chrisman Iribe Professor of Computer Science. “It has been applied in areas ranging from robot motion planning and CAD/CAM to virtual prototyping, as well as in games and virtual reality." 

The selection of papers for this volume exemplifies SIGGRAPH's consistent commitment to cutting-edge research and highlights the conference's role in advancing the computer graphics discipline forward.

“Our software has been downloaded by hundreds of thousands and licensed to over 60 global companies, including Fortune 500s,” said Lin, Barry Mersky and Capital One Endowed Professor. “They’ve found applications in diverse fields, from Boeing’s aircraft design to educational platforms like Alice at Carnegie Mellon University.”

In commemoration of 50 years of SIGGRAPH Conferences, the conference has published "Seminal Graphics Papers Volume 2." This sequel to the first volume, released in 1998 for its 25th anniversary, underscores ACM and SIGGRAPH's legacy as a leading technical and professional society. The collection epitomizes the pioneering research that has been the cornerstone of the conference since its inception in 1974.

This achievement serves as a testament to the University of Maryland's sustained contributions to the evolving fields of computer graphics and simulation over the decades. Congratulations to the Department of Computer Science for this milestone achievement!

The SIGGRAPH 50th anniversary conference took place from August 6-10, 2023, in Los Angeles, California.

 —Story by Samuel Malede Zewdu, CS Communications 

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