Submitted by ScayTrase on Thu, 12/08/2011 - 12:28

Some notes and memories about the organization and holding of the 1st conference GraphiCon:


The idea of the conference belongs to the staff member of the International Institute for System Studies (IIASA, Vienna) S. Golovanov, who accidentally got on a conference SIGGRAPH'89 in Boston and was struck by the scale (more than 20 thousand members) and the quality of the event. He spoke with the organizers of the ACM SIGGRAPH and the resulting conversation formed the idea of ​​organizing such conference in the USSR. It was the time of Gorbachev's perestroika. In the United States was full of euphoria about Gorby and others. Americans are no longer afraid of the threat of nuclear attack and were filled with a sense of gratitude. S.Golovanov discuss this idea in JIHT (Department of Computer Science), the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, in particular, with the academician A.A.Samarsky. Samarsky put the issue in the Keldysh IPM USSR. For its implementation took Golubev Y.F., Bayakovsky Y.M., Galaktionov V.A., Shvetsova N.A. and employees of the department of computer graphics IPM.

Experience in organizing scientific conferences on computer graphics in the Soviet Union certainly was, but we understood that the conference SIGGRAPH - is another matter. This large-scale event, which in addition to the usual session and section reports include training courses on topical areas of computer graphics and related fields, round tables, workshops, exhibitions of computer art, video shows, exhibition of standard and experimental equipment and techniques and etc. Most importantly, for the organization of all this it is necessary to find the money, the conference must be able to "sell" - to find a sufficient number of participants (students, lecturers, exhibitors) to create a budget.

Americans have approached the problem with their usual fundamental and serious. A small group of representatives of the Committee SIGGRAPH arrived in Moscow in March-April 1990 to clarify the situation. To the best of my memory, it was the executive secretary of the ACM SIGGRAPH (the soul of the first conference GraphiCon) Beverly Aquino, Judy Brown, Andy Goodrich and Roll Zaritsky (as it gave us to understand Rolle was requested to check if all is clear. Roll at the conference has not appeared - his mission was exhausted at the preliminary stage. Everything was really clean). Acquainted with potential organizers of the Soviet side, and evaluate our level of competence, the Americans decided to invite the members of the organizing committee of the conference on the future ACM SIGGRAPH'90 in Dallas (USA). The purpose of the visit was, as they say, give master classes in preparation for the conference GraphiCon in key areas.

Come the following: Golubev Y.F., Bayakovsky, Y.M., Galaktionov V.A., I.Seregin (all from IPM) Voskresensky I.N., Lifshits V.G. (Union of Architects of the USSR) and Afanasev V.M.( JIHT, Academy of Sciences of the USSR), and S.Golovanov. Americans know how to show us in the right light at the conference (and get approval for the money spent ~ 90-100 thousand dollars). We were made individual stettonovskie cowboy hat and cowboy shirt with the logo of the conference. The clothes we put on the plenary session of the conference Siggraph'90. This caused excitement present: five-thousandth the audience stood up and applauded us standing. Of course, we understand that the applause addressed to the new Soviet Union - Perestroika, Gorby and fall of the Iron Curtain. It was still nice. By the way, these were not the only ones cheering at us. When we flew on domestic flights from Washington to Dallas, the crew announced to passengers on board with them flies a delegation of Soviet scientists. In response - applause. The euphoria in the United States has been impressive.

The Conference made a stunning impression. More than 25 thousand participants of all ranks! A huge exhibition of all leading hardware manufacturers, interesting exhibition of experimental innovative computer-graphics systems (3D, UI various kinds and so on), the exhibition of computer art. But especially shocked video show - a demonstration of the latest advances in computer animation in the great hall on a huge screen in stereo.

Leaders of the various sections of the organizing committee of the conference and the program was carried out for us to master classes (how to conduct a review of articles as planned and organized training courses, videos and art shows). We were invited to many meetings. Especially memorable meeting was with the leaders of Silicon Graphics James Clark. We knew that it was he who first proposed and commercially successful implementing the idea of ​​the graphics pipeline - a prototype of a modern GPU. He responded positively to an invitation to take part in GraphiCon. Later he presented an excellent report, which we have translated into Russian and published in the conference proceedings. Unfortunately, James Clark was unable to come.

Bayakovsky Y.M. was honored to be accepted into the Club of pioneers of computer graphics. Well, we talked to the legendary specialists.

Fig.1. The President of the Club of pioneers of computer graphics presents a certificate to Bayakovsky Y.M. of taking him to the club (1990, Dallas)

By the way, we lived in Dallas Hyatt Regency hotel, and right out the window of my room was seen a warehouse and a window from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot the President Kennedy.

Funny episode occurred when we returning. At the end of the conference organizing committee gave us a complete set of materials of all courses - great value for us. But how does this take on the airplane? These are two-meter cardboard boxes. The solution was found the next - written on the box "Akademik E.Velikhovu from ACM SIGGRAPH». E.P. Velikhov at the time was well-known and influential adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev. It worked! Materials delivered.

On his return, work began on the organization GraphiCon. We already knew that the conference can cause the interest and we need to find a big meeting room. Especially the Americans were going to bring and show video show - the best computer animation in recent years. It certainly will not be like in Dallas, but also interesting. In the end, we chose the Palace of Youth at the Komsomolsk Avenue. At that time of his rent it was expensive, but still. It was difficult to get the powerful projectors Barco. Then they had only a few organizations in Moscow, so we had to use many connections to get them. The success of the video show in Moscow was no less than in Dallas.

How to make the GraphiCone to find out more number of people? Internet did not exist yet. Email works only at 2400 baud. Therefore, great importance was attached to advertising in the media, especially the press. We were established press groups, individual work with journalists of various publications, including the most massive and authoritative at the time. There were publications in the newspapers "Pravda", "Izvestia", "Moskovskaya Pravda", "Engineering newspaper" and others. Examples of publications can be seen on this page. Besides thematic publications ordered and paid advertisements, including leading publications. For example, the paid advertisement on the conference was published in the newspaper "Komsomolskaya Pravda".

Fig.2. The article on GraphiCon-91, in the most important Soviet "Pravda" newspaper, organ of the Central Committee of the CPSU (All legible to read, if you increase the big picture by clicking).

Just before the conference there was a new attack - the war in Iraq. "Desert Storm" and the State Department urged US citizens not to fly in the USSR because of the threat of possible terrorist attacks. Insurance companies do not guarantee the payment under any circumstances. For us, it was the threat of the collapse of the whole. Director of IPM Kurdyumov S.P. contacted the KGB and agreed to cooperate (at receptions and buffets KGB people helped us well). We, as organizers, wrote a letter to Siggraph, where with our side guarantee the safety of Americans. Most of the planned speakers arrived:

James Thomas, chairman of the ACM SIGGRAPH
Aquino Beverly - Executive Secretary of the ACM SIGGRAPH
Judy Brown -ACM SIGGRAPH and the University of Iowa
Andy Goodrich - ACM SIGGRAPH
Michael Bailey, Supercomputing Center San Diego.
Ed Ketmul, chairman and scientific director of the animation company «Pixar»
Donna Cox, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois
Don Greenberg, a professor at Cornell University
Andy Van Dam, professor of Brown University
Patrick Prince, University of California
Brian Barsky - Professor, University of California at Berkeley.

Fig.3. Chairman of ACM SIGGRAPH Dzh.Tomas (left) and Executive Secretary of the ACM SIGGRAPH Beverly Aquino presented to the chairman of the organizing committee GraphiCon-91 GolubevY.F. (right) the  souvenir - a coach with the appropriate sign. In the background to the left - Dolgovesov B. Behind Golubev Y.F. we can see Kurdyumov S.P.

The conference was held with surprising success. It is estimated there were more than 3,000 participants from more than a hundred cities in the Union. Many people first heard and saw what modern computer graphics. For some, including myself, the first GraphiCon significantly influenced the subsequent professional activity.



Fig.4. Cover for the collection of reports leading US experts presented at GraphiCon-91. Proceedings have been translated and published in Russian.

Below are some interesting photos and scans with the materials on the first two GraphiCon.

V. Galaktionov

Additional illustrations

Fig.5. A small article in the newspaper "Moskovskaya Pravda", organ of the CPSU MGK.

Fig.6. The notes written S.Leskovym, who once starred in "Izvestia".

Fig.7. The publication of Bayakovsky Y.M. in the "Engineering newspaper" with the conference program.

Fig.8. The publication of the newspaper "Radikal" at the end of GraphiCon-91. Correspondents of our leading publications were simply stunned Kurdyumov S.P. response to a question about the level of Soviet science and technology in the field of computer graphics. At that time the common opinion was that we have a strong sciences, physics and mathematics, and suddenly the answer that no technology at all. There was a silence …

Fig.9. An example one of the paid advertisement - in a national newspaper with a circulation of many millions "Komsomolskaya Pravda", then the organ of the Komsomol Central Committee.

Fig.10. Welcomes the chairman of the ACM SIGGRAPH Dzh.Tomasa to the participants.

Fig.11. An invitation to the next conference GraphiCon - GraphiCon-92, which took place in September and October 1992 at the Institute of Youth, formerly the Higher Komsomol School of the Central Committee of the Young Communist League, in Kuskovo, Moscow.

Fig.12. Greetings from the President of the RAS Osipov Y.S. conference participants GraphiCon-92. Such greetings we do not receive more, may except 1995 (See below). But, the truth, we did not try to organize them.

Fig.13. Welcomes the St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak to conference participants GraphiCon-95, organized Paltashev T.T.