Andries van Dam

Andries van Dam
Andries van Dam
Associated organizations
Brown University
Fields of study
IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal


Andries van Dam was born on 8 December 1938, in Holland. He received a B.S. with honors from Swarthmore College, and both an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He has honorary degrees from Swarthmore and Darmstadt Technical University in Germany. Since 1965, he has been a professor at Brown University, where he was a co-founder and the first Chairman of the Computer Science Department.

Andries van Dam has dramatically improved computer science through his contributions to education. His textbooks have long been classroom standards, and he has repeatedly been among the first in the country to employ new technologies in education. An astounding number of his former students are now leaders in the field of computer technology.

Professor van Dam has written nine books and over 80 papers. Fundamentals of Computer Graphics and its successor Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice, both co-authored by Professor van, Dam, are the standard texts for computer graphics courses.

As an educator and researcher, he has been consistently ahead of his time. He equipped a lecture hall with student workstations in the early 1980s, and led a group that installed a WYSIWYG hypertext editing system in the Brown University library more than twenty years ago. An inspirational teacher, several industry leaders say they had no intention of pursuing computer science careers until they took Professor van Dam's introductory computer course, which he has been teaching at Brown University since 1965.

Professor van Dam made major contributions to the CORE and PHIGS+ graphics standards, and has been working with Microsoft to develop internet standards for virtual reality. Co-founder of ACM SIGGRAPH, he has been on the editorial board of several computer graphics journals. He was on the Technical Advisory Boards of Microsoft Research as well as several start-ups.

Professor van Dam's awards, honors and distinctions include the IEEE Centennial Medal, the Society for Information Display's Special Recognition Award, the National Computer Graphics Association's Academic Award, the ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award, the L. Herbert Ballou University Professor Chair, the ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award, and two endowed chairs. In 1994, he became an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Fellow. In 1996, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering.