In memoriam Prof. Dr. Philippe Bekaert (1967-2022)

It is with great sadness that we announce to you the passing of Professor Dr. Philippe Bekaert, full professor of computer sciences at Hasselt University. Philippe passed away at home, surrounded by his family, on the 31st of July 2022.

Professor Bekaert joined the Expertise centre for Digital Media on the 1st of August 2002, where he headed the Visual Computing research unit. In his career of exactly 20 years, he led the group to many successes, ranging from several important papers at leading computer graphics conferences such as Siggraph and CVPR, the deployment of his research within performance art and culture in collaboration with the company Crew, to the founding of several spin-offs that made his accomplishments available to the community.

He was a leading researcher who placed great importance on usable and deployable results. He was a pioneer in the field of high-resolution 360-degree video, immersive experience of virtual reality and fast processing of large amounts of visual material. Professor Bekaert has also left his mark on the computer science curriculum, including the development of the unique master profile in Visual Computing. Our students highly appreciated his interactive lectures and his topics for bachelor and master theses. By advising a large number of PhD students in this field, he ensured a lasting impact that crosses several generations.

Our thoughts are with his family, wife, Annelies, and three daughters, Lotte, Fien and Eva. We wish them strength in these difficult days. We are grateful for his dedication and contributions to the Expertise centre for Digital Media, and hope that the undeniable impact he had on our group of researchers and students can offer a little consolation.