November 2009

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The last ones to go up are for the ACM Symposium on Solid and Physical Modeling (SPM):

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Ke-Sen Huang has put up almost all the remaining pages that were taken down, after revising them according to ACM’s requirements:

The only pages not up yet are those for ACM’s Symposium on Solid and Physical Modeling (SPM) for the years 2005-2008.

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Following the reinstatement of the SIGGRAPH 2009 page a few days ago, the following paper pages have been modified to the new ACM guidelines and are now back up:

This is a little less than half the pages that were taken down.

All this and Ke-Sen has also started to collect the Eurographics 2010 papers as well – the man’s a machine!

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Well, not just from the ACM, but also from people involved in the Ke-Sen Huang and ACM Publications situation.

  • ACM SIGGRAPH membership also gives you access to just about all computer graphics papers in the ACM Digital Library. This I knew already, but found that others haven’t realized it. Any conference sponsored by SIGGRAPH is available, from what I can tell, e.g. I3D. I noticed a few weeks ago that the SIGGRAPH 2009  Posters were not accessible to me through this benefit; the ACM fixed this problem when I reported it.
  • Deep linking, where one site links directly to content on another site, is not illegal. The EFF notes that deep linking has not yet been found to be illegal by the courts. However, linking to sites providing infringing (illegal) copies of a work for download is contributory infringement.
  • “Sweat of the brow” compilations, such as the white pages of phone books, are not copyright. There is no original expression involved, so the Supreme Court ruled such are not protected. Paula Samuelson’s article in the Communications of the ACM (Google Scholar hits here) is a fascinating overview. Titles are not copyright. Elements such as the order in a Table of Contents are in a gray area, from what I can see. The ordering and grouping of the articles into sessions may be copyright protected – the courts have not ruled, as far as I know. Changing that order on an external web page would then not be copyright, since it would be a different “original” expression. Alphabetized or numerical ordering is not copyright protected.
  • You do not need to enforce your copyright to maintain it, unlike a trademark. You can ignore an infringement and not lose your rights. So the argument that a copyright must be protected now in order to preserve it in the future is incorrect.

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The new, improved, ACM-approved version of the SIGGRAPH 2009 links page is up.  The others will soon follow.

Many thanks to Ke-Sen Huang for maintaining these pages – they are an amazing resource for the graphics community!

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We have mentioned Ke-Sen Huang’s awesome paper preprint link pages in many previous posts – they’re the best graphics resource on the web by a long shot.

Early last week, many people (including myself) were shocked to see most of the pages replaced by the following:

REMOVED – This page has been removed at the request of the ACM Publications Board

This resulted in an outpouring of anger as well as support for Ke-Sen.  Many people in the community contacted the ACM Publications Board to try to convince them to change their position.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending.  Today, Ke-Sen received the following email:

Dear Ke-Sen,

As you are aware, the computer graphics community has expressed dismay and concern about the removal of your web pages. ACM wants to make it possible for you to continue this service that the community clearly values very highly. By this message ACM grants permission for you to repost the pages, with the addition of links to the authoritative versions of the papers in the ACM Digital Library. The author’s home page links may also be included, but should not be links directly to the author’s version of the paper. Please post on the site that the information is being provided with the permission of the ACM. This is the solution you proposed earlier, and it is clear from the community’s comments that it is the right thing to do.

As you know, the concern about your pages was ACM copyright policy with regard to links. As a result of the community discussion, ACM will institute a formal review of this portion of its copyright policy.

Please contact us with any concerns or questions.

Sincerely,

Patricia Ryan
ACM Chief Operating Officer

ACM also offered to help with the work of adding the Digital Library links.  So nothing will be removed from Ke-Sen’s pages, and additional useful links will be added.

It will take a little while until the pages are back up, but they will be better than ever.  In the meantime, you can go to the Way Back Machine and find his pages from 2007 and earlier.

The graphics community has engaged with the ACM in a much more active manner than usual, which is a good thing.  We need to remember that it is our organization, and it is only as good as we make it.  So consider volunteering for conferences, paying more attention to ACM elections, etc. – I know I will.

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This is a great video, showing what Earth would look like with rings like Saturn, including from various cities, taking latitude and other factors into account.  A bit off-topic (well, the visualization uses graphics, if not real-time graphics), but cool nonetheless.

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DX9 GPU Hacks

When I transitioned from PC to console programming in 2003, I was struck by the many graphics hardware features I now had access to which are not supported by PC APIs such as Direct3D and OpenGL (the latter is in slightly better shape due to its support of vendor extensions).  Some of these features are supported by newer iterations of Direct3D, but for many people Direct3D9 is still the target of choice (it is the newest version supported on XP, and it most closely matches the capabilities of current-gen consoles).

Over the years, graphics hardware vendors have implemented an array of undocumented, semi-official hacks around the Direct3D9 API to allow access to more hardware features.  Aras Pranckevičius has recently put up a very useful list of these.  I have not seen this information anywhere else – kudos to Aras for doing the work.

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Flocking (running a large number of independent agents with simple proximity-based rules and letting interesting behavior emerge) has been a popular graphics technique since the 1987 SIGGRAPH paper by Craig Reynolds.  The idea is, of course, inspired by examples from the animal kingdom such as bird flocks and fish schools.  Today I saw an internet clip of 300,000 (!) starlings flocking. With such a large number of entities, the flock looks like some kind of bizarre physical fluid or smoke simulation.

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AMD has posted executables and videos for two new demos for the Radeon HD 5800 series. Both demos require Windows 7 (I guess that means that Vista support for DirectX11 isn’t quite here yet).

One of the demos show order-independent transparency; from the description it sounds like an A-buffer-like approach, which is interesting. The other shows a high-quality depth of field effect.

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