Cape Town hosts Afrigraph 2006

06 March 2006

UCT was well represented at the 4th International Conference on Computer Graphics, Virtual Reality, Visualisation and Interaction in Africa (AG2006), held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in the last week of January.

As always, Cape Town proved a strong draw card and number of delegates from Southern Africa, Europe, the USA and Asia attended the conference.

This conference presents research into all aspects of computer graphics. Particular emphasis is placed on the application of novel technologies that are appropriate for developing nations, in the sense that they can be leveraged at little cost and without highly sophisticated infrastructure.

This year the conference was jointly chaired by Rhodes University (Dr Shaun Bangay) and UCT (Dave Nunez), both of which have strong graphics research groups. The programme's co-chairs were Dr James Gain of UCT, and Wolfgang Strasser of Tuebingen University in Germany.

The conference keynote was delivered by Ken Perlin, a luminary in the field of computer graphics whose achievements have been recognised internationally, including an Academy of Motion Pictures Award for technical achievement. This is the visual effects equivalent of the Oscars. Perlin addressed the way in which supposedly fanciful ideas, which seem very much like science fiction at the time, can lead to important innovations in the broad field of computer graphics.

From a technical perspective, the conference attracted high-quality submissions that were reviewed by a programme committee containing numerous international experts. Three papers were selected for republication in the European journal Computer Graphics Forum. One of these was a submission by Bruce Merry, a graduate student in the Collaborative Visual Computing laboratory of the UCT Department of Computer Science.

Once the conference was concluded, a new committee was elected for the Afrigraph organisation. UCT is well represented on the new committee, as it was on the old. Gain, the outgoing president, has been replaced by Dr Patrick Marais, another UCT computer science staff member. Bangay, the outgoing vice-president, has made way for Nunez, a new incumbent. Finally, the post of treasurer, previously held by Marais, has now been filled by Nellis Franken of Pretoria University.

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