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SIGGRAPH Asia Advisory Group Taps New Chair

28 Jan 2019

SIGGRAPH Asia Advisory Group Taps New Chair

by Melanie A. Farmer

Yong Tsui (YT) Lee has handed off the chairmanship of the SIGGRAPH Asia Conference Advisory Group (SACAG), a role he has held since 2011, to Surapong (Ben) Lertsithichai, who most recently served as a SACAG committee member. Lertsithichai, who has been involved with SIGGRAPH for 18 years in various capacities, began his new role on Jan. 1, 2019.

“We want to welcome Ben as he gets situated in his new position as leader of the SACAG and also thank YT for his many years of dedication to our organization and to ensuring SIGGRAPH Asia’s success,” says Jessica Hodgins, president of ACM SIGGRAPH. “Since its inception in 2008, the SIGGRAPH Asia conference has contributed significantly to our global presence, and YT has been instrumental in the conference’s growth and evolution through the years.”

SIGGRAPH Asia, held in mid-November or mid- December of each year, is considered a sister conference to SIGGRAPH, which typically occurs in the summer. While SIGGRAPH Asia echoes many aspects of its North American counterpart with respect to format and programming, notes Lee, it also “possesses its own characteristics. We steadfastly maintain the quality and variety that SIGGRAPH is famous for but add to it our own unique programs and elements.”

As chair of the group responsible for developing policy, structure and strategy for SIGGRAPH Asia each year, Lee and the SACAG committee members collaborated closely on several fronts, including in choosing host cities, identifying conference chairs and in advising the direction of each event. In fact, he started with the group prior to its formal establishment when, in 2006, a group of members from Asia met with Executive Committee leadership at the SIGGRAPH Conference in Boston and discussed the possibility of having a SIGGRAPH in Asia to showcase the best and brightest in the field. There have been eleven SIGGRAPH Asia conferences since its first, which was held in Singapore in 2008. It has been held in nine different cities, including Seoul, Hong Kong and Bangkok.

While there were challenges and obstacles to overcome as the conference gained its footing, says Lee, “The conference is doing well, with the latest in Tokyo seeing the highest attendance yet of nearly 10,000 guests.”

Lertsithichai, also a longtime member of ACM SIGGRAPH, attended his first SIGGRAPH conference in 2001 and first SIGGRAPH Asia in 2010. Lertsithichai’s research expertise is in CAD software development, novel roomware systems, computer games, animation and interactive software for digital entertainment, and in 2005, he published his first SIGGRAPH paper; in the same year, he became a SIGGRAPH member and joined the Bangkok Chapter. He forged closer ties to SIGGRAPH Asia after his appointment as conference chair when Bangkok won the bid to host SIGGRAPH Asia in 2017. He will serve as SACAG Chair through 2021.