Professor Claudio Silva Voted Chair in Prestigious IEEE Committee

Claudio Silva

After an open election among members of the IEEE Visualization and Computer Graphics Technical Committee (VGTC), Professor Claudio Silva of the department of Computer Science and Engineering was elected chair of the organization. The appointment will last for two years.

IEEE VGTC, a subcommittee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society, focuses on the advancement of visualization, computer graphics, virtual and augmented reality, and interaction. The organization exists to contribute to members’ advancement and promotion in these fields within and outside of the community. VGTC organizes major conferences that specialize in visualization and virtual reality, including VIS, VR, and ISMAR, among others.

Silva’s election as chair comes after years of being involved with VGTC. “My first visualization conference was in 1993. I started as a student volunteer for several years. I’ve been through the ranks,” Silva noted. As the recent recipient of the Visualization Technical Achievement Award, one of the highest honors given by VGTC, Silva has truly run the gamut within the organization, from student, to award recipient, to chair.

As chair, Silva will have the ability to make various appointments within the organization as well as create initiatives and plans to push it further into the public eye. In many ways, it is more important than ever to make the public more aware of the advancements in visualization, graphics, and virtual reality. “The whole area is growing in multiple directions,” said Silva. “VR and AR used to be science fiction, but now it’s real.” For a while, Silva felt that the tech was trying to catch up with the expectation but now, “we’re in a situation where the tech is coming of age.”

This ripening of the technology also means that it’s more prevalent—as can be evidenced by Silva’s own visualization work relating to baseball. The use of computer graphics outside of a primarily specialized demographic is prevailing—“Even your phone has a 3D chip in it.”

On a practical level, Silva hopes to reach out to more members of the public by keeping up an online presence through an updated Web site and social media, as well as assuring that there are both formal and informal opportunities for people to learn about the research done by those in VGTC. This dovetails into further ways to introduce more educational opportunities on all counts—something that Silva believes would help the field immensely. “I think there is a substantial need to improve education materials in the area,” he said. Silva also plans to keep the visualization field relevant by interesting younger members and assuring that they are trained in the best way possible.