July 26, 2017

Significant New Researcher Award of ACM SIGGRAPH goes to Bernd Bickel

With Chris Wojtan in 2016 and Bernd Bickel in 2017, IST Austria is the only institution to have the SNR Award awarded to its scientists in two subsequent years.

The Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (ACM SIGGRAPH) has announced IST Austria professor Bernd Bickel as the 2017 recipient of the Significant New Researcher Award. Established in 2001, the SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award is the most prestigious recognition for computer graphics researchers at the assistant professor level. The award is given to one person a year, selected from a pool of all computer graphics researchers in the world. The award is reserved for early career researchers who have made recent, significant contributions to the field of computer graphics at the international level and demonstrated exceptional promise for future achievement.

Selected as this year’s winner for his work in computational fabrication and in facial modeling and animation, Bernd Bickel is the 17th recipient of the award. With him and Chris Wojtan, who received the prize in 2016, IST Austria is now the scientific home of two recipients of the Significant New Researcher Award—the only institution besides Stanford University with this distinction—and the only institution whose scientists have won the award in two subsequent years.

Professor Bernd Bickel obtained his PhD from ETH Zürich and worked at Disney Research in Zürich and at the Technical University of Berlin before joining IST Austria in 2015, where he leads a research group on computer graphics and digital fabrication. His work on facial modeling has introduced new techniques for rapidly capturing and reproducing facial structure and motion in 3D digital models. His research has also unearthed novel ways of using motion capture to identify and replicate fine facial details such as wrinkles and scars.

“Bernd has made extensive contributions at such an early stage of his career, and we’re thrilled to present him with this award,” said ACM SIGGRAPH Technical Awards Chair Michael Cohen. The ACM SIGGRAPH statement reads as follows: “In addition to advances in facial modeling, Bernd has also made core contributions in the design of fabricated objects. His research has focused on modeling the structural and mechanical properties of objects along with their visual appearance, leading to more realistic or deformable materials and objects.”

“I feel honored and moved to have been selected for this year’s ACM SIGGRAPH award,” says Bernd. “Being part of the SIGGRAPH community is a great experience, and I am especially pleased to see both the level of progress that has been achieved in the field of computational fabrication and the recognition this field has received at SIGGRAPH. I want to emphasize that many of my ideas could only thrive with the support and scientific curiosity of this community, as well as the excellent working conditions at IST Austria, Disney Research, and ETH Zürich. “

The Significant New Researcher Award will be presented to Bernd Bickel on July 31, 2017 at the annual SIGGRAPH conference.

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