Joe O'Rourke gave a nice retrospective talk at the business meeting of the 20th ACM Symposium on Computational Geometry. But first, an outline of Bernard Chazelle's introduction "Why Joe is such a cool guy":
- The name O'Rourke, from Gaelic "Ô Ruaric"
- Lords of Ireland
- The Rumsfeld of the Russian empire, 1700
- Court of Maria Teresa, 1750
- Gaelic writer in France
- Prince Joseph, Lord of Smith College
- Modesty: Joe has won several awards, including an NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar award, of which there are only seven in any field, but you'd never know it from his web page.
- Research: four books including the >1500-page CRC Handbook, the Open Problem Project, the SIGACT News computational geometry column, the comp.graphics.algorithms FAQ
- The other side of Joe: 1994 Psycoloquy paper "Agnosticism about the arbitrary realization argument"
- The mentoring scholar: co-author with > 25 undergrads, mostly at Smith and therefore mostly female
- Without Joe, there would be no SoCG!
Joe's "1st SoCG Quiz":
- Steve Fortune, Leo Guibas, and John Hershberger attended all twenty SoCGs
- When? 1985.
- Where? Baltimore.
- More or fewer submissions than 20th? 1st:105 submissions, 20th:147 submissions
- More or fewer attendees? 1st: 186, 20th: 163 registered at June 1, approximately 195 now.
- 12 program committee members now, only 4 then.
- Program committee: Joe O'Rourke, Godfried Toussaint, Franco Preparata, and David Dobkin
- Paper with most co-authors: 1st: five, 20th: ten
- Fraction of single-author papers: 1st: 27% (11.41) average 2.0; 20th: 4% (2/49) average 3.5
- Maximum number of papers per author at 20th: Micha Sharir and (his PhD student) Pankaj Agarwal with 7 each
- Maximum number of papers per author at 1st: Bernard Chazelle with 4
- Common authors to 1st and 20th: Herbert Edelsbrunner, Leo Guibas, Mark Overmars, Subhash Suri (who was only 12 years old at the time), and Micha Sharir
- Hot areas at 1st SoCG: Visibility, Voronoi diagrams, k-sets, shortest paths, motion planning
- "Seminal" papers at 1st SoCG: Edelsbrunner and Seidel, "Voronoi Diagrams and Arrangements"; Lipton, North, and Sandberg, "A Method for Drawing Graphs"; Overmars and Welzl, "The Complexity of Cutting Paper" (the only SoCG paper with no references!)
- What does the cover image illustrate? The minimum convex cover of a sinple polygon does not always use edge extensions. But a slightly modified version folds to a nice polyhedron.
- Open problem: Can every simple polygon be folded (via edge gluings) to a simple, closed polyhedron?
Now on to the business meeting. Mmmm....beer. The new computational geometry steering commitee is Pankaj, Mark de Berg, Ferran Hurtado, Joe Mitchell, and Jack Snoeyink. Everybody thanked Joe Mitchell for serving as the steering committee chair for the last four years.
John Iacono on local argghs: almost 200 attendees, roughly 40% more than last year at FCRC. Each attendee cost $280 (mostly from $130 banquet). Extra money came from Raindrop Geomagic and the CATT Center at Polytechnic.
Jack Snoeyink reporting for the program committee: 47 accepted/147 submissions (33.3%). No papers by left-handed hunch-backed Slovenian twins. Most papers were submitted from the US—31 accepted/80 submitted—but only 8/19 from Americans. 1 paper accepted from Austria out of 0 submissions. Area stats: 5/5 kinetic, 3/3 streaming, 0/3 pseudotriangles, 0/5 arrangements. Ppaers with 4 authors most accepted. Best possible title: "Finding spacetime stream cores moving planar squares toward guaranteed collision". Worst possible title: "Complex discrete linear hull searching time in the plane". Blame Jack Snoeyink for the parallel sessions.
Erik Demaine reporting for the video committee: There were only 6 submissions (3 after original deadilne), all accepted; one applet was submitted but without a Play button. Everything is on the web and only on the web. Lesson 1: It seems hard to generate videos in the requested high quality formats. Lesson 2: Web-only proceedings allow for more flexible deadlines. Recommendations: Good mailing list for steering and organizing committees; protocols for copyright, deadlines, and location of web proceedings; call for videos needs more marketing and/or personal invitation. Points for discussion: Should we only have a video track every other year? Continue with web-only video proceedings?
Marco Pellegrini on next year's SoCG, to be held June 6-8, 2005 in Pisa: The co-chairs of the program comittee are Joe Mitchell and Günter Rote. Pisa is nice; so is Florence. Pisa is easy to get to; so is Florence. There are lots of hotels in the city center; there are buses from there to campus. A hotel room should cost 100 euros for a double, slightly more for a quad. The water temperature is about 20°C. Sadly, we cannot rent the Leaning Tower for the banquet.
There were three bids for hosting SoCG 2006, in descreasing order of humidity—Portland, OR (John Hershberger); Santa Barbara, CA (Subhash Suri); and Sedona, AZ (Alon Efrat). Mmmm....cake. First vote: OR 41, CA 23, AZ >55. Second vote: overwhelming majority for Sedona. Must be the vortex.
Hours of interminable discussion ensued for the next twenty minutes. Blah blah blah. Yes, we'll have videos next year. Yadda yadda yadda. The PC will decide whether we have parallel sessions next year. Mmm...more beer. Raimund's suggestion for 5-minute talks and Sandor's suggestion of 40-way parallel sessions were ridiculed as usual. Babble babble babble. We will continue to have two program committee co-chairs. Groan sputter bleadle.
Günter Rote closed the meeting by pointing out that SoCG's 20th anniversary is actually next year, not this year, and so we should get cake again in Pisa. Woo.