Ivan E. Sutherland

Ivan E. Sutherland
Ivan E. Sutherland
Hastings, NE, USA
Associated organizations
Evans and Sutherland Computer Company, Sutherland, Sproull and Associates, California Institute of Technology, University of Utah
Fields of study
IEEE John von Neumann Medal, IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award


Ivan Sutherland was born on 16 May 1938 in Hastings, Nebraska. He received a B.S. from Carnegie Institute ofTechnology in 1959, an M.S. from California Institute of Technology in 1960 and a Ph.D. from MIT in 1963, all in Electrical Engineering. Known to many as the "Father of Computer Graphics," principally for his early work developing an interactive drawing system, Ivan Sutherland is a Vice President at Sun Microsystems. His pioneering work in computer graphics began in 1963, when he developed "Sketchpad" as part of his doctoral dissertation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Three years later, when he was an Associate Professor at Harvard University, he teamed up with Bob Sproull to develop the head-mounted display, a very early use of three-dimensional computer graphics demonstrating what is now known as "virtual reality."

In 1968, while teaching at the University of Utah, Dr. Sutherland cofounded the Evans and Sutherland Computer Company, a manufacturer of high performance computer graphics equipment.

It was at this time that he coauthored the landmark publication "A Characterization of Ten Hidden Surface Algorithms" with Sproull and Schumacker. Dr. Sutherland went to the California Institute of Technology in 1976 as the Fletcher Jones Professor and founding head of its Computer Science Department. While there, he and Carver Mead initiated "the Silicon Structures Project," a major research program staffed and funded cooperatively with industry. The pioneering work of this group laid the groundwork for academic institutions worldwide to teach integrated circuit design. From 1980 on, Dr. Sutherland served as Vice President of Sutherland, Sproull and Associates, a consulting firm acquired 10 years later by Sun Microsystems. He was a Vice President and Fellow at Sun, where he works on asynchronous system design.

Dr. Sutherland is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, the IEEE and the Association of Computing Machinery. He is the author of 51 artides and a book and holds 17 patents. His many honors indude the NAE Zworykin Award, the Turing Award and, most recently, the Smithsonian Information Technology Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement.