South By Southwest was an eye opener for the three CGAL Editorial Board members who made the trip to Austin. Up to now we loved our annual pilgrimage to Siggraph, but that is now history! The diversity of the folks we met is breathtaking, and what we learned through presentations and discussions we had, invites quite some change to the CGAL Project.
CGAL and the Metaverse
We didn't come by accident to South By, but were invited by a manager of a software development team working for f**k (or m**a?), which heavily uses CGAL.
The goal of the invitation was to meet the team of
engineersmetamates (programming geeks), but also to meet the users of their software (design geeks), as well as the future inhabitants of the metaverse (again, geeks). Meeting these end users showed us the importance of adding progress reporting and cancel features to, say, 3D Boolean operations (see pull request PR 6461), although most South By attendees reacted allergic to the word "cancel"...
While it is one thing to provide geometric algorithms to the makers of the Metaverse, it became clear that we have to make CGAL accessible to the avatars who will start to program within the metaverse using CGAL software components from the virtual CGAL store. This means goodbye to C++, and hello visual and cerebral programming, or at least coming up with an intuitive binding as typing on a virtual keyboard in a virtual Emacs is not really a productive way to code inside the metaverse.
Drop us a line with a guess which CGAL data structure is the most heavily used in the following scene and get the chance to win a CGAL doodle (see next section).
Yacht Clubs, Doodles, and a CGAL NFT
While prices of yachts such as the Sheherazade are dropping fast these days, being a member of the Bored Ape Yacht Club remains a luxury for the happy few. Doodles are more affordable non-fungible tokens (or NFT), and we convinced Scott Martin to design one hundred brand new CGAL focused NFT doodles. Scott plans to combine their well-known characters with textures generated with the help of Voronoi diagrams, heat maps, and barycentric coordinates. These doodles will primarily be used by CGAL developers and users as visual ID on development platforms such as GitHub.
I never had imagined that the pattern on a giraffe is a Voronoi diagram!
Scott Martin, Doodle Inc.
While the price of the CGAL doodles will not skyrocket (one hundred NFTs is a lot for our niche community), we have one CGAL algorithm under development that will soon be distributed under the AGPL, and at the same time as an NFT with a single instance to be used by one of the customers of GeometryFactory, the CGAL company. As chances are high that some other company sees a more profitable use case for this NFT, it will make an offer, leading to a transaction where the CGAL Project gets a cut. In the worst case, the new CGAL component will end up in the safe of a rich collector, or on a floppy disk sent to the moon just like Jeff Koons plan for his latest artwork. Several successful transactions may ultimately enable us to buy one of the bored apes -- and join their yacht club.
The CGAL NFT will be on the Ethereum blockchain, and the idea came us while at the South By session Blitzscaling.
Pretty similar to restitution, claims for physical objects as the Partheon Marbles in the British Museum by Greece, attribution, that is to giving a thing the correct name, is a major moral issue and was heavily discussed in Austin. While Apollonius graph and Minkowski sum are acknowledged by science historians to be correctly attributed, several historians have serious doubts that the term Delaunay triangulation is appropriate. Recent research shows that the characteristics of being "the triangulation which maximizes the minimal angle" was already described in one of the oldest and most famous Chinese mathematical texts, the Zhoubi Suanjing. It is not clear that Sonia Delaunay was aware of this, but Ignorantia juris non excusat. And as we now know about it, we have to change -- the pull request is on the way.
This April joke came with a gallery.