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Outstanding Technical Contributions Award 2014 – Marc Alexa

Marc Alexa received an M.S. in Computer Science in 1997 and a PhD in 2002 both from Technische Universität Darmstadt, under the supervision of Jose Encarnaçao and Markus Gross. He is prersently a Full Professor at TU Berlin.
Marc Alexa’s research is broad reaching. He is mostly interested in creating, processing, and manufacturing shapes, as well as in intuitive interfaces for these tasks. His research has led to significant contributions in the fields of Geometry Processing, Shape Modeling and Sketch-based Modeling, but also more broadly in Visualization, Scanning, Fabrication and Interactive Graphics in general.

Marc Alexa has published more than one hundred papers in peer-reviewed top-level Journals and Conferences. His 2003 paper on computing and rendering point-set surfaces has received more than 1100 citations, which is remarkable in the Computer Graphics field. Being now a senior researcher, he remains closely involved at the technical level and at the same time very active in the research community.

Beyond the numbers, Marc’s work has been very influential. He essentially started the trend of Point-based Graphics, which led to a sub-field with its own Symposia and books. He coined the term “as-rigid-as-possible” (ARAP), which is now part of the common vocabulary in computer graphics. He started the idea of using Laplacians for mesh modeling, an idea that is currently the basis of the state-of-the-art for this task.

Animation and point-based animation have been other Alexa’s topics. His early work on representing animation by principal components was really inspiring. He proposed a new way of representing 3D geometric animation sequences by decoupling the animation from the scene geometry and by using eigenvector analysis. The scheme was progressive, allowing spatial and temporal LOD and compression and using an affine estimation of the rigid part of the animation. It supported mapping of animations on different objects.

He popularized Sketch-based Shape Modeling built on top of Laplacian shape modeling, and subsequently developed one of the best working sketch based shape retrieval systems. He published novel results on sketch-based mesh editing, sketch-based image synthesis and retrieval and sketch-based shape retrieval, with new and exciting results on understanding how humans sketch objects.

Marc Alexa helped shaping the careers of two prolific graphics researchers, Olga Sorkine and Tamy Boubekeur, now in prestigious positions and highly decorated with a variety of awards.

Marc has received several very prestigious awards, such as the Heinz Meier-Leibniz Award by the German Science Foundation, the Engineering Sciences Prize of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, an ERC Starting Grant, and has been an Apple Research & Technology Laureate Winner. He has been the Technical Papers Chair of several International Conferences, including EUROGRAPHICS 2005, the Symposium on Sketch-Based Modeling and Interfaces 2010, the Symposium on Geometry Processing 2009, Pacific Graphics 2007 and the Symposium on Point-based Graphics in 2004. He served in the Eurographics Executive Committee from 2003 to 2006. He was the Technical Papers Chair of SIGGRAPH 2013.

Marc Alexa has made seminal contributions to the field of Computer Graphics, Geometry Processing and Sketch-Based Modeling which have shaped and significantly influenced the field. His work is broad and deep, having a continued and successful role in training young students who have since established themselves as leading faculty and researchers.

Eurographics is extremely pleased to recognize Marc Alexa with the 2014 Outstanding Technical Contributions Award.