Milestones:Development of Computer Graphics and Visualization Techniques, 1965-1978
Development of Computer Graphics and Visualization Techniques, 1965-1978
In 1965, the University of Utah established a Center of Excellence for computer graphics research with Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) funding. In 1968, two professors founded the pioneering graphics hardware company Evans & Sutherland; by 1978, fundamental rendering and visualization techniques disclosed in doctoral dissertations included the Warnock algorithm, Gouraud shading, the Catmull-Rom spline, and the Blinn-Phong reflection model. Alumni-founded companies include Atari, Silicon Graphics, Adobe, Pixar, and Netscape.
Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the Milestone Plaque Sites
40.768052, -111.846582 50 Central Campus Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Details of the physical location of the plaque
On a 3000-pound granite monument just outside the southwest entrance of the Merrill Engineering Building.
How the intended plaque site is protected/secured
Historical significance of the work
The historical significance of the work can be summarized as follows:
- both faculty and alumni at the Univ. of Utah developed techniques that have proved to be fundamental to the maturation of computer graphics technology, with great assistance from ARPA (later DARPA) funding; ARPA funding is cited on the title pages of the PhD dissertations of at least Catmull, Fuchs, Gouraud, Phong, and Warnock
- the novel accomplishments have been recognized in numerous patents, described in doctoral dissertations and seminal papers, and awarded distinguished prizes including the IEEE John von Newman Medal (alumnus Dr. Edwin Catmull and faculty Dr. Ivan Sutherland), the ACM Turing Award (alumni Drs. Edwin Catmull and Alan Kay, and faculty Dr. Ivan Sutherland), and the Kyoto Prize (alumnus Dr. Alan Kay and faculty Dr. Ivan Sutherland)
- several important companies were formed by both faculty and alumni which helped to create new industries, including Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp. (created by faculty members Evans and Sutherland in 1968, and whose hardware was used by Utah faculty, students, and alumni), Pixar (Dr. Edwin Catmull in 1986), Adobe (Dr. John Warnock in 1982), Atari (EE Bachelors grad Nolan Bushnell in 1972), and Silicon Graphics (1982) and Netscape (1994) (both by Dr. James Clark)
Ivan Sutherland and Sketchpad
Ivan Sutherland’s 1963 ground-breaking MIT PhD dissertation Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System described his geometrical design program and the world's first graphical user interface (GUI). The widespread impact of Sketchpad led to Sutherland's serving as Director of ARPA’s IPTO from 1964-66, which allowed him to direct $15 million annually to sponsor computer research projects at universities, research centers, and elsewhere across the U.S.
The Importance of Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp.
David Evans and Ivan Sutherland both knew of each other, leading Sutherland to accept Evans' invitation to join the Univ. of Utah faculty in the newly-established computer science division of its Electrical Engineering Department. This quickly led to the 1968 founding on the university campus of Evans & Sutherland (“E&S”), a very early company dedicated to the design and creation of hardware necessary to enable development of new computer graphics techniques.
E&S hardware supported the computer graphics work being developed by students and staff, and its initial place of business was on property owned by the university. Sutherland's presence also helped ensure a continued flow of ARPA funding to the university. Univ. of Utah alumni were amongst the E&S employees, including Drs. John Warnock, Edwin Catmull, and James Clark.
All of this created a first-of-its-kind environment for Utah students to be able to develop seminal rendering and visualization techniques, and these were described in their PhD dissertations (e.g., the Warnock algorithm, Gouraud shading, the Catmull-Rom spline, and the Blinn-Phong reflection model) and in their subsequent endeavors (e.g., the Catmull-Clark surface patch, and the rendering equation by James Kajiya while he was a Cal Tech professor).
ARPA Funding for the University of Utah
Chapter 4 in Wayne Carlson's History of Computer Graphics and Animation book shows how Evans was asked to establish a computer graphics program at the Univ. of Utah, and how it had received a large ARPA (later called DARPA) grant with which to work: "The University of Utah established one of the pioneer, and certainly one of the most influential computer graphics programs in the country when they asked David Evans (who joined Utah in 1965) to establish a program that could advance the state of the art in this new field in 1968. The computer science department had received a large Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant ($5M/year for 3 years) which resulted in the work of many faculty and graduate students who have pushed the CGI discipline to where it is today. ... Evans joined with Ivan Sutherland, who developed Sketchpad at MIT."
Univ. of California Prof. Jacob Gaboury, whose 2021 MIT Press book Image Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics is cited herein, clarified two of Carlson's statements: (1) re: Evans having "joined Utah in 1965": Evans was hired by the Univ. of Utah in 1965, and joined the faculty in January 1966, and (2) re: the "$5M/year for 3 years" grant: this was actually a grant of $5 million which was provided at a rate of approx. $1.3 million/year over a 4-year period.
David Evans' Important Role
While Evans is often overshadowed by the more well-known Ivan Sutherland, Evans' importance cannot be overstated. Through Evans, the Univ. of Utah received a grant of $5M to build a Center of Excellence for computer graphics research from ARPA's Information Processing Technology Office Director Bob Taylor in 1965 (see Taylor's Computer History Museum Oral History at p. 16). Evans secured this ARPA grant "immediately following" his 1965 hiring by Utah (see Gaboury's book at p. 19). Alan Kay "wandered off to graduate school at the University of Utah, which he ended up considering 'the best luck I ever had.' The computer science pioneer David Evans was building there the best graphics program in the country" (see Isaacson's The Innovators at p. 283). Evans and Sutherland "were magnets for bright students with diverse interests, and they led us with a light touch" (see Catmull's Creativity, Inc. at p. 12).
The Importance of University of Utah Faculty in Areas Including Audio
An excellent overview of the University of Utah's impact on CG is in the Utah Computer History Project document.
Innovation at the Univ. of Utah in 1968 was not limited to computer graphics - it extended to other media as well. In 1968, Thomas G. Stockham, Jr. joined the Electrical Engineering faculty where he would also make major contributions: as PhD advisor to R. Rom and J. Kajiya, as one of six technical experts to determine the cause of the famous 18 1/2 minute gap on a crucial Watergate tape, and as an innovator in digital audio editing as recognized by his 1998 Academy Award (a Scientific and Engineering Award). The climate created by so much talent also influenced Nolan Bushnell, who was an undergraduate Electrical Engineering student and alumnus.
An exemplary example of the Univ. of Utah faculty is Prof. Richard Riesenfeld, who joined the faculty in 1972 a year before his Syracuse Univ. PhD dissertation was completed, taught there for his entire career of 47 years, and became Professor Emeritus in 2019. The 1975 PhD dissertation of Martin Newell cites Riesenfeld's 1973 paper Applications of B-spline Approximation to Geometric problems of Computer-Aided Design, and also cites papers by numerous other professors (incl. Sutherland) and fellow students and alumni (incl. Warnock, Gouraud, Phong, and Catmull). Riesenfeld continued to publish until as late as 2013 with A B-spline-like basis for the Powell-Sabin 12-split based on simplex splines. Thus, the computer graphics field was advanced dramatically by both faculty and students at the Univ. of Utah.
ACM SIGGRAPH Background on the Univ. of Utah’s Importance
The ACM SIGGRAPH Steven Anson Coons Award is the highest award in computer graphics. The description of why David Evans was the 1989 awardee (https://www.siggraph.org/1989-steven-anson-coons-award-david-evans/) details the merits of this Milestone:
[David Evans’] early foray into computer graphics subsequently led to the golden era of computer graphics at the University of Utah and the founding of the Evans and Sutherland Computer Company in Salt Lake City. Dr. Evans returned home to Utah to build up the Computer Science Department of the University of Utah. There he assembled faculty including such well known individuals as Ivan Sutherland, the first recipient of the Coons Award, and Thomas G. Stockham.
Steven Coons was a visiting faculty member at Utah in 1973. William Newman, co-author with Robert Sproull of the well-known textbook, spent several years there. Newman said: “He (Evans) had a particular style of running a department that I now think of as magical, in the sense that everything one could wish for seemed to arrive almost without asking.”
The period from 1967 through at least 1975 was an extraordinary time for computer graphics at Utah. There was a rare confluence of faculty, students, staff, facilities and resources to support vision research and hard work that produced remarkable developments in computer graphics. This research was responsible for the birth of continuous-tone computer graphics as we know it today. An amazing constellation of students passed through the University of Utah and their names are to be found throughout the publications of SIGGRAPH and other graphics journals. Among them were Jim Blinn and Jim Clark, previous Achievement Award winners, and this year’s Achievement Award Winner John Warnock. Many of his students have remarked that it was David Evans’ vision and his commitment to them that made their work possible. His guidance and advice were influential in giving them a sense of self-realization.
Beyond his abilities as an educator are his achievements in the business world. With Ivan Sutherland he founded the Evans and Sutherland Computer Corporation to produce premier computer graphics display equipment. A large part of this company’s business concerns real time simulation of scenes associated with aircraft flying and automobiles driving. These real time simulators are a partial expression of David Evans’ wish to contribute to all manner of simulation. He has been known to say that engineering design is just another form of simulation of the products to be built.
Anne Exline’s 1990 article in IEEE Potentials titled Computer Graphics succinctly addresses the topic of the historical significance of the work done at the Univ. of Utah as follows:
Ivan Sutherland and David Evans, the “godfathers” of computer graphics, gravitated to the University of Utah. (David Evans had defined the principle of incremental computing, i.e., using computations for one pixel to define adjacent pixels.) Why? Because one of the main organizations funding computer graphics research at that time was the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). And many of the advances in graphics technology occurred at the University of Utah under their sponsorship. As a result, the group of graphics pioneers that located there is still referred to as the “Utah Mafia.” In 1971, Henri Gouraud developed an algorithm to smooth out color changes between adjacent polygons, which is still used and referred to as Gouraud shading. Bui Tuong-Phong, in 1975, devised the modeling to define the plastic-looking objects which is today known as Phong shading. Ed Catmull developed the principle of texture mapping.
Dr. Alvy Ray Smith, who co-founded Pixar with Dr. Edwin Catmull, wrote the 2021 book A Biography of the Pixel, whose Fig. 7.12 (titled “Digital Movies Epoch 2: 1965-2000”) on pp. 332-333 provides an overview of important people at various universities, companies and governmental organizations who were critical to development of computer graphics technology and techniques that led to the first fully computer-animated feature-length motion pictures, including the first of these in 1995: Toy Story. This Fig. 7.12 includes members of the “Utah Mafia” at the Univ. of Utah, as they were called by Exline in her book as quoted above. Smith’s book chronicles the maturation of rendering and visualization techniques for which the university’s doctoral students played an essential role. Approximately one quarter of all the names of contributors in this Fig. 7.12 have roots in the Univ. of Utah, as shown in the flow of people from “E&S 1968” in this figure.
Utah Grads Have Had an Impact on CAD, and on Animation in Medical Applications
Distinguished Utah graduates have also produced technology enabling modern CAD products such as the popular engineering products SOLIDWORKS and AutoCAD Rivet, and animation techniques used well beyond just motion pictures such as medical applications as shown by Christopher Ray Johnson’s 1988 dissertation.
Smith’s book describes the genesis of a fundamental “shading” technique at the Univ. of Utah in his “Shading Gets More Realistic” section on pp. 341-343 and Figs. 7.18 and 7.19. Smith discusses how in 1971 the Frenchman Henri Gouraud devised an interpolation scheme that produced continuous shading of surfaces, a method which became known as “Gouraud shading” and which remains a fundamental technique to this day. This method was set forth in the Gouraud’s ARPA-funded 1971 Univ. of Utah PhD dissertation. Gouraud shading was followed shortly thereafter by Phong shading, developed by Bui Tuong Phong in his 1974 Univ. of Utah PhD dissertation, which allowed for smoother shading techniques, but whixh required greater computational resources. Both methods are described on pp. 96-100, and in figures 3.6-3.7, of Gaboury's book.
In Isabelle Bellin’s Computer-Generated Images: Palm of Longevity for Gouraud’s Shading, the author quotes Henri Gouraud: "It must be said that the University of Utah, and in particular our department, was a real nursery of researchers in image synthesis." Bellin described one aspect of Gouraud’s work on shading: “Moreover, to explore the limits of his technique, Henri Gouraud did not hesitate to take his wife as a model! ‘What could be more complicated to reproduce than a face?’ he retorts. One evening, she agreed to serve science: he painted lines on her face in black pencil, measured the vertices of the polygons and entered everything into the computer. The images of Sylvie Gouraud's face, shaped by the computer according to the shading of her husband, have been published in many magazines and have featured prominently at the Museum of Computer Science in Boston (Mountain View today).” This famous photo (the Computer History Museum's Catalog No. 102724490) allows Gouraud’s mathematical algorithm to be visualized as a compelling work of art.
A spline is a mathematical function defined piecewise by polynomials. The Catmull-Rom spline was first described in an appendix of Catmull’s 1974 Univ. of Utah doctoral dissertation, and it is illustrated and discussed in Smith’s book on pp. 239-240. Edwin Catmull and Raphael Rom received their PhDs from the Univ. of Utah in 1974 and 1975, respectively, with Catmull's receiving ARPA funding.
Blinn-Phong reflection model
This is a 1977 James Blinn modification of the Phong reflection model, which is also sometimes referred to as the "modified Phong reflection model." It is the default shading model used in the Open Graphics Library (aka OpenGL), a widely-used API for rendering 2D and 3D vector graphics. Phong and Blinn received their PhDs from the Univ. of Utah in 1973 and 1978, respectively, with Phong's receiving ARPA funding.
This is a hidden surface determination algorithm invented by John Warnock which solves the problem of rendering a complicated image by recursive subdivision of a scene until areas are obtained that are trivial to compute. It was first described in John Warnock’s 1969 ARPA-funded Univ. of Utah PhD dissertation titled "A Hidden Surface Algorithm for Computer Generated Halftone Pictures". The history of the hidden surface problem is the subject of Chapter 1 of Gaboury’s book, and Warnock’s algorithm is described on pp. 48-49 and in Figure 1.8 therein.
This is an equation which quickly became integral to computer graphics after it was introduced at the 1986 SIGGRAPH conference by both a Cornell Univ. team led by David Immel, and by Cal Tech’s James Kajiya in a paper titled The Rendering Equation. Kajiya received his Utah PhD in 1979. See also Tomas Akenine-Moller, et al., Real-Time Rendering, 4th Edition, 2018, CRC Press, at p. 437.
Honors received by some of those discussed herein are as follows:
Dr. Ivan Sutherland:
- 1972: National Academy of Engineering: First Valdimir K. Zworykin Award
- 1973: National Academy of Engineering member for “creative contributions in computer science and computer graphics, particularly in the study of the interfaces between men and machines”
- 1975: Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society – Outstanding Accomplishment Award
- 1978: National Academy of Sciences member
- 1983: ACM SIGGRAPH Steven Anson Coons Award (first year of the award, and it has gone on to become the highest award in computer graphics) (https://www.siggraph.org/1983-steven-anson-coons-award-ivan-e-sutherland/)
- 1985: IEEE Computer Society Pioneer Award “for the graphics SKETCHPAD” (https://www.computer.org/profiles/ivan-sutherland)
- 1986: IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award “for pioneering work in the development of interactive computer graphics systems and contributions to computer science education” (with David Evans)
- 1987: Computerworld Honors Program, Leadership Award
- 1988: A.M. Turing Award: “for his pioneering and visionary contributions to computer graphics, starting with Sketchpad, and continuing after” (https://amturing.acm.org/award_winners/sutherland_3467412.cfm)
- 1990: Sun Microsystems Laboratories Fellow
- 1993: ACM Software System Award for Sketchpad
- 1994: ACM Fellow “for his pioneering and visionary contributions to computer graphics, starting with Sketchpad, and continuing after. Sketchpad, though written twenty-five years ago, introduced many techniques still important today. These include a display file for screen”
- 1994: Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF Pioneer Award
- 1996: The Franklin Institute's Certificate of Merit
- 1996: CyberEdge Journal Virtual Reality Pioneer Award
- 1998: IEEE John von Neumann Medal “for pioneering contributions to computer graphics and microelectronic design, and leadership in the support of computer science and engineering research”
- 2004: R&D 100 Award
- 2005: Computer History Museum Fellow “for the Sketchpad computer-aided design system and for lifelong contributions to computer graphics and education”
- 2012: Kyoto Prize (Advanced Technology Category): for “pioneering achievements in the development of computer graphics and interactive interfaces”
- 2016: National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee
Dr. Edwin Catmull:
- 1974: Univ. of Utah PhD in Computer Science (research supported by ARPA)
- 1974: co-author (with Raphael Rom) of Computer Aided Geometric Design which expands on the Proceedings of the First International Conference on Computer Aided Geometric Design as held at the Univ. of Utah on March 18-21, 1974
- 1993 Academy Award co-winner: Scientific and Engineering Award “for development of ‘RenderMan’ software providing the means to digitally create scenes or elements that may be composited with other footage”
- 1995: ACM Fellow: “Dr. Edwin E. Catmull has made many and noteworthy advances in computer graphics as an individual researcher, as an inspiring leader in the field, as a director of organizations, and as a mentor for many.”
- 1996 Academy Award co-winner: Scientific and Engineering Award ”for their pioneering inventions in digital image compositing"
- 2000: became member of the National Academy of Engineering for leadership in the creation of digital imagery, leading to the introduction of fully synthetic visual effects and motion pictures
- 2001 Academy Award co-winner: Academy Award of Merit “for their significant advancements to the field of motion picture rendering as exemplified in Pixar's ‘Renderman’ "
- 2006: IEEE John von Neumann Medal “for fundamental contributions to computer graphics, and a pioneering role in the use of computer animation in motion pictures”
- 2006 Academy Award co-winner: Technical Achievement Award “for the original concept (Catmull) and the scientific and practical implementation (DeRose/Stam) of subdivision surfaces as a modeling technique in motion picture production”
- 2009 Academy Award winner: Gordon E. Sawyer Award as "an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry"
- 2013: Computer History Museum Fellow "for his pioneering work in computer graphics, animation and filmmaking"
- 2019: ACM Turing Award for his contributions to 3D computer-generated imagery
Dr. John Warnock:
- 1969: Univ. of Utah PhD in Computer Science (research supported by ARPA); his doctoral thesis incorporated what became known as the Warnock Algorithm for hidden surface determination
- 1989: ACM Software Systems Award: “For the design of PostScript page description language and its implementation.” (with Douglas K. Brotz, Charles M. Geschke, William H. Paxton, Edward A. Taft)
- 1995: Univ. of Utah Distinguished Alumnus Award
- 1996: Member of the National Academy of Engineering “for the invention and implementation of technologies for computer graphics, printing, and publishing"
- 1999: ACM Fellow “For three decades, Warnock has been respected as an innovator in the field of computer software. One of Warnock's most outstanding achievements is the development of the PostScript language”
- 2000: Edwin H. Land Medal from the Optical Society of America
- 2002: Computer History Museum Fellow for "his accomplishments in the commercialization of desktop publishing with Chuck Geschke and for innovations in scalable type, computer graphics and printing"
- 2003: Oxford University's Bodley Medal
- 2004: Lovelace Medal from the British Computer Society
- 2006: American Electronics Association's Annual Medal of Achievement Award
- 2008: IEEE Computer Society's Computer Entrepreneur Award "for inventing PostScript and PDF and helping to launch the desktop publishing revolution and change the way people engage with information and entertainment"
- 2009: National Medal of Technology and Innovation
- 2010: Marconi Prize
- Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Member of the American Philosophical Society
Dr. James Clark:
- 1974: Univ. of Utah PhD in Computer Science
- 1984: received the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award
- 1996: received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement
- 1997: recipient of the Kilby International Award for his computer graphics vision
- 1998: elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering for the development of computer graphics and for technical leadership in the computer industry
Features that set this work apart from similar achievements
The Univ. of Utah’s incredible productivity from the time of Sutherland joining the faculty until at least the early 1990s was the subject of a Harvard Business School case study by H. Kent Bowen & Courtney Purrington: University of Utah and the Computer Graphics Revolution (March 19, 2007).
As a group, the Univ. of Utah contributed more to the field of knowledge in computer graphics than any of their contemporaries, and that fact is made most apparent both in successful business applications and in the body of awards garnered. Their most significant honors received by Univ. of Utah Computer Science alumni and faculty in 1968 are summarized here:
3 IEEE Fellows
- Charles Hansen, 2012: “for contributions to visualization tools for large-scale scientific datasets”
- Christopher Ray Johnson, 2014: “for leadership in scientific computing and scientific visualization”
- Henry Fuchs, 2015: “for contributions to computer graphics, virtual and augmented reality”
2 IEEE John von Neumann Medal recipients
- Ivan Sutherland, 1998: “for pioneering contributions to computer graphics and microelectronic design, and leadership in the support of computer science and engineering research”
- Edwin Catmull, 2006: “for fundamental contributions to computer graphics, and a pioneering role in the use of computer animation in motion pictures”
1 IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal
- Thomas G. Stockham, Jr. (faculty), 1998: "for pioneering the field of digital audio processing"
1 IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernbach Award
- Christopher Ray Johnson, 2013: “for outstanding contributions and pioneering work introducing computing, simulation, and visualization into many areas of biomedicine”
5 ACM Fellows
- Ivan Sutherland, 1994: “For his pioneering and visionary contributions to computer graphics, starting with Sketchpad, and continuing after. Sketchpad, though written twenty-five years ago, introduced many techniques still important today. These include a display file for screen.”
- Edwin Catmull, 1995: “Dr. Edwin E. Catmull has made many and noteworthy advances in computer graphics as an individual researcher, as an inspiring leader in the field, as a director of organizations, and as a mentor for many.”
- Henry Fuchs, 1995: “Dr. Henry Fuchs is internationally known for his contributions to high performance, parallel display architecture. He was a pioneer who recognized the importance of parallelism for graphic processors.”
- John Warnock, 1999: “For three decades, Warnock has been respected as an innovator in the field of computer software. One of Warnock's most outstanding achievements is the development of the PostScript language.”
- Alan Kay, 2008: “For fundamental contributions to personal computing and object-oriented programming.”
3 ACM A.M. Turing Award laureates
- Ivan Sutherland, 1988: “for his pioneering and visionary contributions to computer graphics, starting with Sketchpad, and continuing after”
- Alan Kay, 2003 “for pioneering many of the ideas at the root of contemporary object-oriented programming languages, leading the team that developed Smalltalk, and for fundamental contributions to personal computing”
- Edwin Catmull, 2019: “for fundamental contributions to 3D computer graphics, and the impact of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in filmmaking and other applications”
6 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven Anson Coons Awardees (this is the highest award in computer graphics)
- Ivan Sutherland, 1983 (first year of the award)
- David Evans, 1989
- Edwin Catmull, 1993
- James Blinn, 1999
- James Kajiya, 2011
- Henry Fuchs, 2015
2 ACM Software System Awards
- John Warnock, 1989: “For the design of PostScript page description language and its implementation.” (with Douglas K. Brotz, Charles M. Geschke, William H. Paxton, and Edward A. Taft)
- Alan Kay, 1987: "For seminal contributions to object-oriented programming languages and related programming techniques. The theories of languages and development systems known as 'Smalltalk' laid the foundation for explorations in new software methodologies, graphical user interface designs, and forms of on-line assistance to the software development process." (with Adele Goldberg and Daniel H.H. Ingalls, Jr.)
4 Computer History Museum Fellows
- Alan Kay, 1999: “for his fundamental contributions to personal computing and human-computer interface development”
- John Warnock, 2002: “for his accomplishments in the commercialization of desktop publishing with Charles Geschke and for innovations in scalable type, computer graphics and printing”
- Ivan Sutherland, 2005, “for the Sketchpad computer-aided design system and for lifelong contributions to computer graphics and education”
- Edwin Catmull, 2013, “for his pioneering work in computer graphics, animation, and filmmaking”
2 Kyoto Prize laureates
- Alan Kay, 2004 (Advanced Technology Category): for “creation of the concept of modern personal computing and outstanding contribution to its realization”
- Ivan Sutherland, 2012 (Advanced Technology Category): for “pioneering achievements in the development of computer graphics and interactive interfaces”
10 members of the National Academy of Engineering
- Ivan Sutherland (faculty), 1972: First Valdimir K. Zworykin award recipient
- Ivan Sutherland (faculty), 1973: “Creative contributions in computer science and computer graphics, particularly in the study of the interfaces between men and machines“
- John Warnock, 1996: “For the invention and implementation of technologies for computer graphics, printing, and publishing”
- Henry Fuchs, 1997: “For contributions to computer graphics hardware and algorithms“
- Edwin Catmull, 2000: “For leadership in the creation of digital imagery, leading to the introduction of fully synthetic visual effects and motion pictures”
- James Blinn, 2000: “For contributions to the technology of educational use of computer graphics and for expository articles”
- James Kajiya, 2002: “For contributions to formal and practical methods of computer image generation”
- Alan Kay. 2004: Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering: “For vision, conception, and development of the first practical networked personal computers”
- Martin Newell, 2007: “For contributions to computer-graphics modeling, rendering, and printing“
- David Evans (faculty, deceased)
- Thomas G. Stockham, Jr. (faculty, deceased)
1 member of the National Academy of Sciences
- Ivan Sutherland (faculty), 1978
7 Academy Awards
- Edwin Catmull, 1993 co-winner: Scientific and Engineering Award “for development of ‘RenderMan’ software providing the means to digitally create scenes or elements that may be composited with other footage”
- Edwin Catmull, 1996 co-winner: Scientific and Engineering Award ”for their pioneering inventions in digital image compositing”
- Pixar’s Toy Story, 1996 winner: Special Achievement Award “for the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film"
- Thomas G. Stockham, Jr. (faculty), 1998 winner: Scientific and Engineering Award “for their pioneering work in the areas of waveform editing, crossfades and cut-and-paste techniques for digital audio editing” (with Robert B. Ingebretsen)
- Edwin Catmull, 2001 co-winner: Academy Award of Merit “for their significant advancements to the field of motion picture rendering as exemplified in Pixar's ‘Renderman’ “
- Edwin Catmull, 2006 co-winner: Technical Achievement Award “for the original concept (Catmull) and the scientific and practical implementation (DeRose/Stam) of subdivision surfaces as a modeling technique in motion picture production”
- Edwin Catmull, 2009 winner: Gordon E. Sawyer Award as "an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry"
1 Emmy Award
- Thomas G. Stockham, Jr. (faculty), 1988 winner: Technology & Engineering Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Technical/Engineering Development, “For his pioneering efforts in the development of tapeless audio recording and editing technology“
1 Grammy Award
- Thomas G. Stockham, Jr. (faculty), 1994: Technical Grammy Award
1 Utah Governor's Medal for Science and Technology
- Christopher Ray Johnson, 1999
Dedication Video (and Program document):
6-minute Overview of Utah's Computer Graphics Pioneers (also incorporated in dedication video above):
Highlights of the March 23-34, 2023 Milestone Event & Kahlert School of Computing 50th Anniversary Celebration:
1. PATENTS WITH UNIV. OF UTAH INVENTORS:
- John Warnock: “Electronically Generated Perspective Images” – U.S. Patent 3,602,702 (Filed 19 May 1969; Issued 31 Aug. 1971)
- Ivan Sutherland: “Vector Computing System as for Use in a Matrix Computer” – U.S. Patent 3,684,876 (Filed 26 March 1970; Issued 15 August 1972)
- David Evans, Ivan Sutherland: “Incremental Position-Indicating System” – U.S. Patent 3,732,557 (Filed 3 May 1971; Issued 8 May 1973)
- Ivan Sutherland: “System of Polygons Sorting by Dissection” – U.S. Patent 3,889,107 (Filed 27 Sept. 1973; Issued 10 June 1975)
- Charles Setz: “Computer Graphics Matrix Multiplier” – U.S. Patent 3,763,265 (Filed 21 Jan. 1972; Issued 2 Oct. 1973)
- Ivan Sutherland, Gary Hodgman: “Computer Graphics Clipping System for Polygons” – U. S. Patent 3,816,726 (Filed 16 Oct. 1972; Issued: 11 June 1974)
Note: “business method patents” (which includes software) were not generally allowed in the U.S until the 1998 “State Street Bank” court decision.
2. TECHNICAL ARTICLES, CONFERENCE PAPERS & BOOKS
- Akenine-Molle, T., Haines, E., Hoffman, N., Pesce, A., Iwanicki, M., Hillaire, S., Real-Time Rendering, 4th Edition, CRC Press, 2018.
- Blinn, J., Jim Blinn's Corner: A Trip Down the Graphics Pipeline, 1996.
- Blinn, J. and Newell, M., Texture and Reflection in Computer Generated Images, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 19, Issue 10, Oct. 1976. This is the paper discussing and illustrating the famous "Utah teapot" (aka, the "Newell teapot"). https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.1145/360349.360353
- Bowen, K. and Purrington, C., The University of Utah and the Computer Graphics Revolution, Harvard Business School, 3/19/2007. https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=34259
- Carlson, W., History of Computer Graphics and Animation, The Ohio State Univeristy, Chapter 4. https://ohiostate.pressbooks.pub/graphicshistory/chapter/4-3-university-of-utah/
- Catmull, E. and Rom, R., Computer Aided Geometric Design, Academic Press, 1974, pp. 317-326. See description at https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780120790500/computer-aided-geometric-design
- Catmull, E., Creativity, Inc., Random House, 2014.
- Exline, Ann, Computer Graphics, IEEE Potentials, April 1990, pp. 43-45. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/53000
- Gaboury, J., Image Objects: An Archeology of Computer Graphics, MIT Press, 2021.
- Gouraud, H., Continuous Shading of Curved Surfaces, IEEE Transactions on Computers, Vol. C-20 No. 6, pp. 87-93.
- Isaacson, W., The Innovators, Simon & Schuster, 2014.
- Kajiya, J., The Rendering Equation, SIGGRAPH Dallas Texas, Vol. 20, No. 4, 1986, pp. 143-150. http://www.cse.chalmers.se/edu/year/2011/course/TDA361/2007/rend_eq.pdf
- Newman, W. and Sproull, R., Principles of Interactive Computer Graphics, McGraw-Hill, 1979. https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.5555/5532
- Smith, A, A Biography of the Pixel, MIT Press, 2021.
3. PhD DISSERTATIONS:
- Evans, David C., Design and Operation of Two Electronic Computing Devices, 1953 (Univ. of Utah).
- Riesenfeld, Richard, The Application of B-splines to Computer Aided Geometric Design, 1973 (Syracuse Univ.).
- Stockham, Thomas G., 1959 (MIT).
- Sutherland, Ivan, Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System, 1963 (MIT).
- Blinn, James Frederick, Computer Display of Curved Surfaces, 1978. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6pp4whm
- Catmull, Edwin, A Subdivision Algorithm for Computer Display of Curved Surfaces, 1974. (with ARPA funding) https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6wt23bb
- Clark, James Henry, 3-D Design of Free-Form B-Spline Surfaces, 1974. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s63r6tc5
- Fuchs, Henry, The Automatic Sensing and Analysis of 3-d Surface Points from Visual Scenes, 1975. (with ARPA funding) https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s66h521q
- Gouraud, Henri, Computer Display of Curved Surfaces, 1971. (with ARPA funding) https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s69k4vts
- Hansen, Charles D., CAGD-Based Computer Vision: The Automatic Generation of Recognition Strategies, 1988.
- Johnson, Christopher Ray, The Generalized Inverse Problem in Electrocardiography: Theoretical, Computational and Experimental Results , 1988. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s62n543k
- Kajiya, James Thomas, Toward A Mathematical Theory of Perception, 1979. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6xm45b5
- Kay, Alan Curtis, The Reactive Engine, 1969.
- Newell, Martin Edward, The Utilization of Procedure Models in Digital Image Sythesis, 1975. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s651906h
- Parke, Frederic Ira, A Parametric Model for Human Faces, 1974.
- Phong, Bui Tuong, Illumination for Computer-Generated Images, 1973. (with ARPA funding) https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s60635q6
- Rom, Raphael, Image Transmission and Coding Based on Human Vision, 1975.
- Warnock, John Edward, A Hidden Surface Algorithm for Computer Generated Halftone Pictures, 1969. (with ARPA funding) https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6vj1cn7
4. INTERVIEWS, ORAL HISTORIES AND PRESENTATIONS
An Interview with Ivan Sutherland, Charles Babbage Institute, History of Information Processing, Univ. of Minnesota: 1 May 1989.
- Description: https://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/107642
- Transcript: https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/107642/oh171lis.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
- Audio: http://purl.umn.edu/95652
Oral History of Robert (Bob) W. Taylor, Computer History Museum, 10-11 October 2008
- Transcript: http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/text/Oral_History/Taylor_Robert/102702015.05.01.acc.pdf
Museum Fellow Oral History of Edwin Catmull, Computer History Museum, 1 March 2013
- Transcript: http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/access/text/2014/05/102746614-05-01-acc.pdf
- Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imrliaThKrI
A Conversation with Edwin Catmull—President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, 19 October 2017
- Subject: Edwin Catmull, Pixar’s founding father, talks about his 20 year quest to create the first computer animated film, lessons he’s learned, friendships he’s made, and his love of The Great Courses.
- Transcript: https://www.wondriumdaily.com/an-interview-with-edwin-catmull/
Jacob Gaboury Book Chat: University of California Berkeley Book Chat Series, 8 December 2021
- Subject: Gaboury’s 2021 book Image Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics
- Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zke2RG3VeSQ
PIXAR Co-founder Alvy Ray Smith: The History of The Pixel: The Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, CA: 5 August 2021
- Subject: Smith's 2021 book A Biography of the Pixel
- Audio: https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/archive/podcast/pixar-co-founder-alvy-ray-smith-history-pixel
Utah Graphics in the Bay Area, Silicon Valley SIGGRAPH Event at Sun Microsystems, 27 Sept. 1994.
- Speakers: Edwin Catmull, Frank Crow, John Warnock, Lance Williams
- Video: https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102639874
5. IVAN SUTHERLAND DOCUMENTS AND VIDEOS FROM THE COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM
- The Remarkable Ivan Sutherland: https://computerhistory.org/blog/the-remarkable-ivan-sutherland/
Ivan Sutherland Oral History:
- Transcript, Part 1: https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102738195
- Video, Part 1: https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102738196
- Transcript, Part 2: https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102706904
- Video, Part 2: https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102706903
Ivan Sutherland's Sketchpad:
- MiT PhD Thesis on Sketchpad: https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102726907
- Source Code and Memoranda: https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102726903
- Jim Blinn's Web Corner: https://www.jimblinn.com/publications/
- Computer History Museum Timeline of Computer History: Graphics & Games Gaboury’s Image Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics: https://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/graphics-games/
- Computer History Museum Catalog No. 102724490, "Sylvie Gouraud as model for Gouraud shading technique, front view": https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102724490
- Utah Computer History Project: http://www.sci.utah.edu/~nathang/utah-history/utah-history-analysis.pdf
- Jeffrey Yost of the Charles Babbage Institute for Computing, Information, and Culture attended the Computer Graphics Milestone dedication in Utah, and he wrote the attached story.