Ivan Sutherland Honored

February 26, 2018

Ivan Sutherland, a University of Utah computer science luminary who taught the likes of Ed Catmull, Alan Kay and was co-founder of the computer graphics firm, Evans & Sutherland, was honored with the Washington Award from the Western Society of Engineers. The award was handed out Feb. 23 during National Engineers Week at the 2018 Chicagoland Engineering Awards Benefit in Rosemont, Ill.

The Washington Award is given out annually to a professional engineer whose work has advanced the welfare of society. It was established in 1916.

Widely regarded as “The Father of Computer Graphics,” Sutherland is known for his pioneering research in the development of graphics along with colleague David C. Evans, who became the University of Utah’s first chair of the computer science department.

Sutherland earned his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from then Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), a master’s from the California Institute of Technology and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a professor of computer science at the U from 1968 to 1974 during the department’s historic period in computer science which generated other well-known legends such as John Warnock, Jim Clark, Nolan Bushnell, as well as Catmull and Kay.

In addition to starting Evans & Sutherland, he also invented the first interactive graphics program with geometric constraints known as Sketchpad as well as a head-mounted display that would be a precursor to virtual reality technology. He became the first recipient of the ACM SIGGRAPH Coons Award for his contributions to computer graphics as well as the ACM Turing Award. He has received countless other awards including the Kyoto Prize, the R&D 100 Award, and the ACM Software System Award. He is also an inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

He currently lives in Portland where he is a visiting scientist and ACM fellow at Portland State University.

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