My ACM SIGGRAPH Conference Journey

Me in 2012: I wish I could go to SIGGRAPH someday, that would make me so happy.
Me in 2014: I can’t believe I’m actually attending SIGGRAPH!
Me in 2017: I can’t believe I’m actually teaching a course at SIGGRAPH!
Me in 2020: I can’t believe I’m actually a peer reviewer for SIGGRAPH!

2012 me would be so proud.


There’s been some exciting stuff going on! I’ve been collaborating with Dr. Jill Naiman at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to create ytini, an open-source middleware between the scientific analysis and visualization Python package, yt, and the visual effects software, Houdini.

We made a website with code, tutorials, and downloads at, that teaches anyone how to make cinematic scientific visualizations. I may be putting myself out of a job!

We published a paper about it, and we just started working on our second, after having a major breakthrough with the help of my intern, Haoming Lai: We can now render Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) data.

This is a big deal, because AMR is a common data format for astrophysics and climate sciences. It consists of nested, multi-resolution grids, which let you have more detail where there are more interesting things going on in the data. On the other hand, Houdini only works with uniform, cartesian grids… You can see how we made this work by following the tutorial here. Also, stay tuned for the next paper!




I gave a TED talk last week! Here’s an article about it. I wonder if the video of the talk will get posted soon?

Kalina Borkiewicz leading a group discussion at the end of the TEDxUIUC event

Leading a group discussion at the end of the event. I don’t remember what I was talking about at this moment, but it sure looks like I was making an important point!

Kalina Borkiewicz posing with the TEDxUIUC logo

Posing with the TEDxUIUC logo