TPCG Conference 2003 Logo
Theory and Practice of Computer Graphics 2003
Organised by EGUK

Key note speakers:

Related Links/Contacts

Keynote Speakers


Alan Chalmers

Alan Chalmers Photo

Department of Computer Science Bristol

Title of talk:

The Need for Realism: Graphics and Archaeology

Recent developments in computer graphics are providing powerful tools to help archaeologists investigate the multi-dimensional aspects of data they have gathered. Computer graphics techniques can be used to reconstruct and visualise features of ancient environments which may otherwise be difficult to appreciate. However, if we are to avoid the very real danger of misrepresenting the past, then the computer generated images should not only look ``real'', they must also simulate very accurately all the physical evidence for the the site being considered.

This paper discusses the application of high fidelity computer graphics with respect to the ``real'' archaeological scenes they are intended to depict.

Biographical Sketch:

Alan Chalmers is a Reader in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol. He has published over 90 papers in journals and international conferences on high fidelity graphics. He is a former Vice President of ACM SIGGRAPH. His research is investigating the use of very realistic graphics in the accurate visualisation of archaeological site reconstructions and techniques which can be used to reduce overall computation time of high quality images without reducing the perceptual quality of the images. ArchLight Director.

Current Research Interests: Very realistic graphics, Visual perception, Archaeological site reconstructions, Presence in virtual environments, Parallel processing.


Leif Kobbelt

Leif Kobbelt Photo

Department of Computer Science, Aachen, Germany

Title of talk:

Freeform Shape Representations for Efficient Geometry Processing


The most important concepts for the handling and storage of freeform shapes in geometry processing applications are parametric representations and volumetric representations. Both have their specific advantages and drawbacks. While the algebraic complexity of volumetric representations S = {(x,y,z) | f(x,y,z) = 0} is independent from the shape complexity, the domain D of a parametric representation f : D -> S usually has to have the same structure as the surface S itself (which sometimes makes is necessary to update the domain when the surface is modified). On the other hand, the topology of a parametrically defined surface can be controlled explicitly while in a volumetric representation, the surface topology can change accidentally during deformation. A volumetric representation reduces distance queries o inside/outside tests to mere function evaluations but the geodesic neighborhood relation between surface points is difficult to resolve. As a consequence, it seems promising to combine parametric and volumetric representations to effectively exploit both advantages.

In this talk, a number of projects is presented and discussed where such a combination leads to efficient and numerically stable algorithms for the solution of various geometry processing tasks. Applications include global error control for mesh decimation and smoothing, topology control for level-set surfaces, and multiresolution editing without local self-intersections.

Biographical Sketch:

Leif P. Kobbelt is a full professor and the head of the Computer Graphics group at the Aachen University of Technology, Germany. His research interests include all areas of Computer Graphics and Geometry Processing with a focus on multiresolution and free-form modeling as well as the efficient handling of polygonal mesh data. He was a senior researcher at the Max-Planck-Institute for Computer Sciences in Saarbruücken, Germany from 1999 to 2000 and received his Habilitation degree from the University of Erlangen, Germany where he worked from 1996 to 1999. In 1995/96 he spent a post-doc year at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He received his master's (1992) and Ph.D. (1994) degrees from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany.


Chris Gaffney

Chris Gaffney

GSB Prospection, UK

Time Team
Time Team Site

Title of talk:

Image of Archaeological Geophysics from the Small Screen

There are few more rewarding experiences than confidently predicting to over 3 million people what is buried under the ground, watching the 'ground truth' appear..and being thrust back in front of the cameras to spontaneous applause. Anyway, less of my dreams, the reality of TV archaeology is usually very different and does not always end to great acclaim.

In this talk I shall chart the use, and occasional abuse, of geophysical techniques in archaeological investigations on television. I hope to answer the questions:

  • Does my image look big (on the small screen)?
  • Can we say anything other than the blindingly obvious on TV?
  • Why do we put ourselves through mental torment and professional suicide
    on a regular basis?


Biographical Sketch: Chris has worked in geophysics since 1983, including extensive site-based experience in the UK, Greece and the former Yugoslavia. In 1989, he formed a partnership with John Gater at GSB Prospection. He, too, is an associate editor of the Journal of Archaeological Prospection.

Chris has worked on the Time Team digs. Athelney was probably his favourite Time Team dig ('a cracker'), but he also remembers Tockenham – the site of a Roman villa in Wiltshire – fondly: 'It was huge. The scale of the results was never really captured on the programme. Everything was really clear, and for once on Time Team, the gradiometry worked well – usually it's only resistance that does, unlike 90% of our other work.' The excavation in Maryland was also memorable: 'It was amazing how the remains of the first brick-built building in Maryland just popped out. This happened on the first morning of the first day, which made the rest of the dig fairly anti-climactic for us but got everyone else off to a running start.'

Chris' ideal site is a monastery: 'Monastic sites conform to certain patterns, and are nice and simple and very clear.' However, he admits that simplicity and clarity are not the words that he would use to describe the geophysics team's experience.

Local Speaker    

Title of talk:

Three dimensional visualisation in archaeology fact or fiction?

The binocular vision enjoyed by humans means that we perceive our world in three dimensions. Until comparatively recently
this 3-D visualisation was not available for the dissemination of ideas. However with the development of 3-D computer graphics there has been a fundamental shift in how such information may be presented. Within the field of archaeology such virtual reality has been readily assimilated as a way of
presenting complex archaeological reconstructions of monuments or landscapes. It seems certain that this trend will continue and will develop perhaps in interactive ways which previously existed only in the realm of science fiction. Recent developments in methods by which archaeological data is collected digitally in the field, in particular high resolution GPS and air or ground based laser scanning, offers a resolution of 3-D data previously not available. Can 3-D visualisation therefore be used not only to reconstruct but to explore the reality of archaeological data captured by such modern day survey equipment.