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The2009 SIAM/ACM Joint Conference on Geometric Design and Solid and Physical Modeling (GDSPM), which was a federation of the 2009 SIAM Conference on Geometric Design and the 2009 ACM Symposium on Solid and Physical Modeling, was held in San Francisco, CA, from 5 October to 8 October 2009. The goal of the conference was to present theoretically well-founded new methods for geometric and physical modeling that have useful practical applications.
In response to the call for papers of the conference, 85 papers were submitted on many aspects of geometric and physical modeling, and their application in design, analysis, manufacturing, biomedicine, digital entertainment, and other areas. All papers were assessed by five reviewers, usually a member from the international program committee. A total of 24 papers were selected for plenary presentation and publication as full papers, and an additional 18 papers for poster presentation and publication as short papers. All papers appeared in the proceedings of the conference, published by ACM.
From the full papers, we selected the four papers here for extended publication in this special section. The papers were chosen on the basis of their high quality and their suitability for the readership of IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics ( TVCG). All the papers were revised and expanded from the version that appeared in the conference proceedings, and all papers went through further review and revision. We are very pleased with the quality of the resulting papers, and we believe they will be of interest to a wide audience.
“Model Synthesis: A General Procedural Modeling Algorithm,” by Paul Merrell and Dinesh Manocha, presents a method for automatically generating geometric models that resemble those provided by an input example. The method examines input models to determine a variety of geometric constraints (such as connectivity and spacing between various features) that help describe the given shape. These constraints are then used in a procedural method to generate new models that follow the same constraints. As a result, a wide variety of new models that resemble the input model can be created very easily, which should be beneficial for numerous graphics applications that require extensive geometry creation with limited user input.
“GPU-Accelerated Minimum Distance and Clearance Queries,” by Adarsh Krishnamurthy, Sara McMains, and Kirk Haller, presents a number of fundamental algorithms for computing distance queries for NURBS surfaces. Bounded distance measures are computed for axis-aligned bounding boxes rapidly using the GPU. This allows one to quickly compute the nearest point on a NURBS surface, given a point in space, or to compute clearance between two NURBS models. The paper provides a significant performance increase for fundamental geometric queries that form the basis for several operations in CAD and other applications.
“Voronoi-Based Curvature and Feature Estimation from Point Clouds,” by Quentin Mérigot, Maks Ovsjanikov, and Leonidas Guibas, an extension of the best paper award winner at the conference, presents a method for estimating certain surface properties directly from point cloud data. In particular, normals, principal curvatures, and sharp features can be computed on point clouds. Perhaps more importantly, theoretical guarantees on many of the computations are provided, including robustness to noise in the point sampling. This paper provides a significant advance in making use of point cloud data sets.
“Ball-Morph: Definition, Implementation, and Comparative Evaluation,” by Brian Whited and Jaroslaw (Jarek) Rossignac, describes three methods in detail for computing morphs between pairs of certain planar curves. These methods are compared to several standard morphing methods, and it is shown that the proposed morphs consistently provide better performance on particular metrics. This paper offers a significant improvement to 2D morphing, and should be of particular interest in animation applications.
We believe that these four papers are strong representatives of the papers presented at the conference, and hope that you will enjoy reading them. We thank all the authors of the papers and the reviewers for their work in ensuring the high quality of these final papers, along with Dr. Tom Ertl and the TVCG staff for their help in seeing this special section published.
Willem F. Bronsvoort
Jens Gravesen
John Keyser
Guest Editors

    W.F. Bronsvoort is with Faculty EEMCS, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands.


    J. Gravesen is with the Department of Mathematics, Matematiktorvet, Building 303, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. E-mail:

    J. Keyser is with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, 3112 Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3112.


For information on obtaining reprints of this article, please send e-mail to:

Willem F. Bronsvoort received the MSc degree in computer science from the University of Groningen in 1978, and the PhD degree from Delft University of Technology in 1990. He is an associate professor CAD/CAM with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. His main research area is feature modeling, in particular, semantic feature modeling, multiple-view feature modeling, freeform feature modeling, and mesh generation from feature models. He has published numerous papers in international journals, books, and conference proceedings, is on the editorial board of several journals, and has served as cochair and member of many program committees of conferences.

Jens Gravesen received the Cand. Scient. degree (MSc) in mathematics and physics from the Universty of Copenhagen in 1980 and the D.Phil. degree from the University of Oxford in 1988. He is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, Technical University of Denmark. His research area is geometric modelling, in particular, representations that facilitate exact calculations. He has published numerous papers in international journals, books, and conference proceedings, has served as program officer for SIAM's activity group on geometric design, and is one of the organizers of the yearly European Study Group with Industry in Denmark.

John Keyser received the BS degrees in applied math, engineering physics, and computer science from Abilene Christian University in 1994, and the PhD degree in computer science from the University of North Carolina in 2000. He is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University. His research has spanned a range of topics broadly categorized as graphics, with particular focus on robust geometric computation, physically-based simulation, and reconstruction and visualization from volume data. He has published in several journal and conference venues, and currently serves as a member of the Solid Modeling Association executive committee.
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