UMBC faculty poised to help shape national policies in computing

Adam Bargteil, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering, has been named chair-elect of the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH). He will lead SIGGRAPH as chair starting Fall 2020.

With Bargteil’s election, UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT) now has two faculty members serving as leaders of two of the ACM’s largest special interest groups. Helena Mentis, associate dean for academic programs and learning in COEIT and associate professor of information systems, has been president of the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI) since July 2018.

In these leadership roles, Bargteil and Mentis will have an opportunity to shape important policy matters, including redesigning computing education guidelines.

Bargteil’s group, SIGGRAPH, is the leading international society for computing professionals and students in computer graphics and interactive techniques, attracting people from academia, industry, and artistic communities. Bargteil helped create the ACM SIGGRAPH Frontiers program, which highlights emerging fields of research, such as machine learning, medical applications of computer graphics, and autonomous vehicles.

Bargteil plans to continue to empower the SIGGRAPH executive committee to create high-impact programming and opportunities for conversation among members when he is at the helm next year. “I’d like to continue to be proactive, and create more value for the members of SIGGRAPH,” he shares.

Over the summer, Bargteil participated in an intensive leadership program, which he says helped him prepare for his upcoming role in SIGGRAPH. Reflecting on the experience, Bargteil says that he found the selected readings, training exercises in public speaking, and opportunities to connect closely with fellow participants to be valuable for his growth as an emerging leader in computing.

SIGCHI, the group Mentis leads, is the world’s largest association for professionals in human-computer interaction. The group’s main conference attracts more than 3,500 attendees each year, and the SIG sponsors 23 specialized conferences.

Mentis is director of UMBC’s Bodies in Motion Lab, and focuses on how technologies can improve collaboration and coordination in healthcare contexts, from empowering patients to helping surgeons utilize interactive imaging. SIGCHI is a highly multi-disciplinary community that includes researchers and students in fields from sociology to mechanical engineering.

Adapted from an article by Megan Hanks. For additional stories, visit the UMBC News site.