Michael A. J. Sweeney Award

Award for Best Student Papers

The Award

The CHCCS honours the memory of Michael A. J. Sweeney through an annual award to the best student paper(s) presented at each year’s Graphics Interface conference. The winning paper(s) are selected by the program committee from among the papers accepted for the conference for which one or more student authors are presenting the paper. For each paper selected for a Sweeney award, a cash prize of $200 and a plaque are shared by the set of co-authors of the paper.


Expand all | Close all | (Student co-authors in bold)

GI 2016 Best Student Papers

A Field Study of On-Calendar Visualizations

Dandan Huang (University of Victoria), Melanie Tory (Tableau Software), Lyn Bartram (Simon Fraser University)

Perceptual real-time 2D-to-3D conversion using cue fusion

Thomas Leimkühler (MPI Informatik), Petr Kellnhofer (MPI Informatik), Tobias Ritschel (University College London), Karol Myszkowski (MPI Informatik), Hans-Peter Seidel (MPI Informatik)

GI 2015 Best Student Papers

Visibility sweeps for joint-hierarchical importance sampling of direct lighting for stochastic volume-rendering

Thomas Kroes (Delft), Martin Eisemann (Delft), Elmar Eisemann (Delft)

Penny Pincher: A blazing fast, highly accurate $-family recognizer

Eugene Taranta (University of Central Florida), Joseph LaViola (University of Central Florida)

GI 2014 Best Student Papers

Interactive light scattering with principal-ordinate propagation

Oskar Elek (MMCI Saarbruecken), Tobias Ritschel (MMCI Saarbruecken), Carsten Dachsbacher (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), Hans-Peter Seidel (MPI Informatik Saarbruecken)

Experimental study of stroke shortcuts for a touchscreen keyboard with gesture-redundant keys removed

Ahmed Sabbir Arif (York University and Microsoft Research), Michel Pahud (Microsoft Research), Ken Hinckley (Microsoft Research), Bill Buxton (Microsoft Research)

GI 2013 Best Student Papers

ACM: Atlas of Connectivity Maps for semiregular models

Ali Mahdavi-Amiri (University of Calgary), Faramarz Samavati (University of Calgary)

A model of navigation for very large data views

Michael Glueck (University of Toronto), Tovi Grossman (Autodesk), Daniel Wigdor (University of Toronto)

GI 2012 Best Student Papers

Individual differences in personal task management: A field study in an academic setting

Mona Haraty (The University of British Columbia), Diane Tam (The University of British Columbia Shathel Hadad (The University of British Columbia), Joanna McGrenere (The University of British Columbia), Charlotte Tang (The University of British Columbia)

Inverse kinodynamics: Editing and constraining kinematic approximations of dynamic motion

Cyrus Rahgoshay (McGill University), Amir H. Rabbani (McGill University), Karan Singh (Univesity of Toronto), Paul G. Kry (McGill University)

GI 2011 Best Student Papers

Structure-preserving stippling by priority-based error diffusion

Hua Li (Carleton University), David Mould (Carleton University)

Ubiquitous cursor: A comparison of direct and indirect pointing feedback in multi-display environments

Robert Xiao (University of Saskatchewan), Miguel Nacenta (University of Saskatchewan), Regan Mandryk (University of Saskatchewan), Andy Cockburn (University of Canterbury), Carl Gutwin (University of Saskatchewan)

GI 2010 Best Student Papers

Visual links across applications

Manuela Waldner (Graz University of Technology), Werner Puff (Graz University of Technology), Alexander Lex (Graz University of Technology), Marc Streit (Graz University of Technology), Dieter Schmalstieg (Graz University of Technology)

Interactive Illustrative visualization of hierarchical volume data

Jean-Paul Balabanian (University of Bergen), Ivan Viola (University of Bergen), Eduard Gröller (Vienna University of Technology and University of Bergen)

GI 2009 Best Student Papers

Parallax photography: Creating 3D cinematic effects from stills

Ke Zheng (University of Washington), Alex Colburn (University of Washington), Aseem Agarwala (Adobe Systems, Inc.), Maneesh Agrawala (University of California, Berkeley), Brian Curless (University of Washington), David Salesin (Adobe Systems, Inc.), Michael Cohen (Microsoft Research)

Determining the benefits of direct-touch, bimanual, and multifinger input on a multitouch workstation

Kenrick Kin (University of California, Berkeley, and Pixar Animation Studios), Maneesh Agrawala (University of California, Berkeley), Tony DeRose (Pixar Animation Studios)

GI 2008 Best Student Papers

Surface-based growth simulation for opening flowers

Takashi Ijiri (University of Tokyo), Mihoshi Yokoo (Shiseido Co., Ltd.), Saneyuki Kawabata (University of Tokyo), Takeo Igarashi (University of Tokyo)

An empirical characterisation of electronic document navigation

Jason Alexander (University of Canterbury), Andy Cockburn (University of Canterbury)

GI 2007 Best Student Papers

A digital family calendar in the home: Lessons from field trials of LINC

Carman Neustaedter (University of Calgary), A.J. Bernheim Brush (Microsoft Research), Saul Greenberg (University of Calgary)

GI 2006 Best Student Papers

Particle-based immiscible fluid-fluid collision

Hao Mao (University of Alberta), Yee-Hong Yang (University of Alberta)

symTone: Two-handed manipulation of tone reproduction curves

Celine Latulipe (University of Waterloo), Ian Bell (University of Waterloo), Charles Clarke (University of Waterloo), Craig Kaplan (University of Waterloo)

GI 2005 Best Student Papers

Evaluation of an on-line adaptive gesture interface with command prediction

Xiang Cao (University of Toronto), Ravin Balakrishnan (University of Toronto)

GI 2004 Best Student Papers

Interactive image-based exploded view diagrams

Wilmot Li (University of Washington), Maneesh Agrawala (Microsoft Research), David Salesin (University of Washington)

Identification and validation of cognitive design principles for automated generation of assembly instructions

Julie Heiser (Stanford University), Doantam Phan (Stanford University), Maneesh Agrawala (Microsoft Research), Barbara Tversky (Stanford University), Pat Hanrahan (Stanford University)

GI 2003 Best Student Papers

Dynamic canvas for non-photorealistic walkthroughs

Matthieu Cunzi (ARTIS/GRAVIR & REVES/INRIA Sophia-Antipolis), Joelle Thollot (ARTIS/GRAVIR) Sylvain Paris (ARTIS/GRAVIR), Gilles Debunne (ARTIS/GRAVIR), Jean-Dominique Gascuel (ARTIS/GRAVIR Fredo Durand, MIT)

GI 2002 Best Student Papers


GI 2001 Best Student Papers

Universal rendering sequences for transparent vertex caching of progressive meshes

Alexander Bogomjakov (Technion), Craig Gotsman (Technion)

GI 2000 Best Student Papers

Effects of gaze on multiparty mediated communication

Roel Vertegaal (Queens University), Gerrit van der Veer (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Harro Vons (Baan Apps)

GI 1999 Best Student Papers


GI 1998 Best Student Papers

Animating sand, mud, and snow

Robert Sumner (Georgia Institute of Technology), James O’Brien (Georgia Institute of Technology Jessica Hodgins, Georgia Institute of Technology

GI 1997 Best Student Papers


GI 1996 Best Student Papers


Nominations and Selection

The criteria for the Michael Sweeney Award (besides being a “best student paper”) are that the lead author be a student author and that a student author or student co-author present the paper at the conference). The program co-chairs are responsible for confirming that this is the case before recommending a paper for the award. The definition of “student author” is that the author was enrolled as a student when the research reported in the paper was undertaken. The work could be done as part of an internship with industry, or at a university or perhaps independently of any institution, so long as the author was a student. The affiliation for the student must include a school, although multiple affiliations are permitted (which cover internships, and also current affiliations if the student has moved on since the work was done). Often papers are submitted after the student has graduated, and many are presented after graduation. This is fine.

About Michael A. J. Sweeney (1951-1995)

Michael Sweeney was born on the 7th of April 1951. He grew up in Hamilton, Ontario and attended the Universities of British Columbia, McMaster, and Waterloo. He contributed significantly to the computer rendering capabilities of several leading modeling and animation companies. He died on the 3rd of July 1995. Mike was a remarkable individual, and to ensure that his contributions do not go unnoticed, CHCCS has established the Michael Sweeney Student Award, which will be used to encourage student contributions to Graphics Interface.

In setting out to write this, I looked for a model from our field to follow and found none. Computer graphics is a young discipline, and it has not had much experience in honoring its departed groundbreakers. For those of us who knew Mike, we did not expect to be gaining that experience now. The email notice that came last summer, succinctly informing us that Mike had passed away in his sleep, was without warning or preparation. We were stunned. Mike had been marshaling the troops for several months, firing questions, networking, demanding, picking up contacts, all in a tornado of enthusiasm and energy in his new position at DHD in Montreal. The sudden silence was incomprehensible.

Mike worked to the fullest, with a talent that is all the more remarkable in view of his physical limitations. Mike’s promising early studies in music, as a classical performer and a developing composer, and in microbiology, as an honors student at the University of British Columbia, were cut short in 1978 by an automobile accident that made it very difficult for him to speak and impaired his motor control. A blow that would have stopped many was, for Mike, overcome by switching to Computer Science. Mike graduated summa cum laude in 1982 from McMaster University with a BSc, and he received a MMath in 1984 from the University of Waterloo.

I served as Mike’s master’s thesis advisor. In reality, this required me to run like crazy to keep up with Mike’s ideas and progress. I never quite managed the pace. Mike’s project, thousands of lines of code that Mike had clearly in his head and could recall any portion of in an instant, achieved a milestone in rendering at the time. More significantly for Mike, it provided the groundwork of his future career. Working with four of the pioneering companies in computer modeling and animation — Omnibus, Alias, Abel, and SoftImage — Mike developed, or contributed significantly to, their rendering software. Mike set the tone for high quality image synthesis in commercial software. When you next look at a film attributed to one of these companies, remember that every pixel of every frame has been touched in some way by Mike.

More enduring in the memories of his friends than his intelligence and talent will probably be Mike’s impish humor. Life was not to be taken seriously; the serious was to be ridiculed and impaled. And Mike’s own condition was the least to be spared. David Donald, Mike’s employer and friend at DHD, delivered a eulogy filled with anecdote and warmth. One story, I recall as pure Mike, had to do with his own treatment for the constant motor spasms that cut into his typing and slowed the progress of his conversation. Not liking the side effects of medication that had been prescribed, Mike would keep a low level of cheap white wine in his blood. As David related, the only effect this had was to allow Mike to keep his eyes open when the spasms occurred. Mike communicated many of his immediate reactions through his eyes, and closing them meant losing the thread of dialogue. As Mike came to realize that his friends at DHD were willing to wait through the gaps and did not mind, he sent David a message one day: “Dave, do you mind if I stop drinking? It’ll take me a little longer to programme code, but I’ll stop falling over when I walk.” This illustrates Mike’s remarkable sense of humor.

Mike is survived by his mother, Helen, his father, Arthur, and his sister, Margaret. He is survived, as well, by friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who have been touched by his presence and his passing.

Richard Bartels
May, 1996