VGTC Newsletter, December 2018


I am James Ahrens and I was elected chair of IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Visualization and Graphics (VGTC) on November 26, 2018. Thanks for your support!


I am a senior scientist in the Applied Computer Science Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. My primary research interests are visualization, computer graphics, data science and parallel systems. I am the author of over 95 peer reviewed papers and the founder/design lead of ParaView, an open-source visualization tool designed to handle extremely large data. ParaView is broadly used for scientific visualization, downloaded approximately a hundred thousand times per year, and is in use at supercomputing and scientific centers worldwide.


The mission of the IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee (VGTC) and its chair is to provide forums for the exchange and the sharing of ideas, techniques, standards and experiences in the areas of visualization, computer graphics, virtual reality and augmented reality. These topics are critical part of the fabric of our evolving technological society impacting how we learn, understand and interact with information, one another, and the world. VGTC supports workshops, conferences and professional development for practitioners, researchers, developers, users and students.

I believe my experience working on large multi-institution, multi-disciplinary projects and my leadership in the IEEE Visualization community make me a great candidate for the VGTC chair role. The breadth of the VGTC mission, supporting academic forums, professional development, industry outreach and engagement, and communicating with and listening to the range of opinions from community members requires a chair who has experience successfully working with many stakeholders.

I believe in a set of guiding principles when achieving VGTC objectives:

  1. timely communication to and from community members
  2. transparency and clarity in the decision-making process and a
  3. reduction of complexity and exceptions in operations.

I believe we are a stronger community when all our members are supported, represented and included. Therefore, I will support inclusion activities for all VGTC sponsored conferences. I also support increased industry and practitioner engagement to promote a focus on real-world problem solving.


The VGTC is the Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee, the governance body that oversees and sponsors all IEEE visualization and virtual reality conferences including VIS, VR, ISMAR, 3DUI, Pacific Vis, and EuroVis (as a co-sponsor). The VGTC is the main interface for these research communities with the IEEE Computer Society, and also maintains close ties with the publications TVCG (Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics) and CG&A (Computer Graphics and Applications). The VGTC fulfills many important roles including: approval and oversight of conferences, symposia, and workshops; oversight of publications through interactions with the IEEE CS Publications Board; getting involved in policy and budget decisions at the IEEE CS-level that affect the research community; and awarding the IEEE VGTC Career and Technical Achievement Awards.

The VGTC Chair directs the VGTC and oversees the VGTC budget while also advocating to the upper levels of IEEE on policy decisions. The VGTC Chair is the only elected position within VGTC that is determined directly by the membership. The Chair has the authority to directly appoint many positions including most of the voting members of the VGTC Executive Committee, some members of the VIS Executive Committee, and one member of the VR and ISMAR steering committees. After the Chair term ends, the Chair joins other previous Chairs on the VGTC Executive Committee as a VGTC Director. The new Chair’s term will run from December 1, 2018 through November 30, 2020.


James Ahrens
VGTC Chair

p.s. Please feel free to contact me with your questions, comments or concerns about VGTC. I can be reached at