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Utah Computer Graphics and Visualization Milestone

The IEEE Utah Section and the Engineering College of the University of Utah are planning a dedication ceremony on campus for the first IEEE Milestone in Utah, “Development of Computer Graphics and Visualization Techniques 1965-1978” on March 23-24, 2023. There will be a series of events with the pioneers of computer graphics held at the Cleone Peterson Eccles Alumni House. The entirety was be live-streamed; see links below.

Download Milestone Program (March 24) (4MB PDF).

At this event you will hear from luminaries including Ed Catmull (Pixar Animation), John Warnock (Adobe), Jim Clark (Silicon Graphics), Alan Kay (Xerox PARC) and Ivan Sutherland (Evans & Sutherland) who will discuss the creative climate and technical contributions that gave birth to these technologies.

March 23 will be a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the U’s computer science department, now the Kahlert School of Computing, with panel discussions and talks looking at the past, present and future of the School.

March 24 will be the Milestone dedication in the morning with a Graphics Symposium in the afternoon with the visionaries who launched the computer graphics revolution as they reflect on their student days at the University of Utah and their trailblazing technology contributions.

These historic events will never be duplicated. Go to www.price.utah.edu/rsvp for detailed event information and to RSVP.

Schedule of Events (live streamed links):

  • Thursday March 23 from 10 AM to 5 PM is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the University of Utah Computer Science Department.
  • Friday March 24th from 10 to noon is the Milestone Dedication.
  • Friday March 24th from 1:45 PM to 5 PM will be a Symposium organized by the University of Utah.

Program, 50th anniversary of the Computer Science Department at the University of Utah (March 23, 10 am-5 pm)

  • Welcome: Mary Hall, Director, University of Utah Kahlert School of Computing.
  • Panel: Leading the Way in Computer Science Education: Former Kahlert School of Computing faculty members Dave Hanscom and Joe Zachary talk about the origins of our undergraduate program.
  • Panel: Foundations for Creativity: Utah Computer Science, the early years. Chuck Seitz, Al Davis and Duane Call talk about how the environment in which they worked fostered creativity, and specifically as it relates to computer architecture and systems.
  • Keynote: The future and promise of technology – innovations from extraordinary women. Telle Whitney, Co-Founder, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and Former CEO of Anita Borg Institute.
  • Lunch
  • Keynote: Utah and the Frontiers of Computing. Steve Parker, Vice President of Professional Graphics, NVIDIA
  • Panel: Impact of Networking Research, from ARPANET to Emulab & Beyond. David Andersen (CMU) and Cody Cutler (Amazon), moderated by Rob Ricci
  • Future Video: Kahlert School of Computing assistant professors talk about what the future holds for the field.
  • Single Flux Quantum (SFQ) Digital Electronics (Digital circuits totally distinct from Quantum Computing). Keynote: Ivan Sutherland, 1968 – 74 Utah Professor, 1988 Turing Award Winner, CG Pioneer and Icon.

Milestone Dedication (March 24, 10 am-noon)

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.

  • Introduction Video.
  • Welcome: Brian Berg, IEEE Region 6 History Chair and Event MC.
  • Why Utah?: Dan Donahoe, IEEE Milestone Proposer.
  • IEEE Background: Kathy Hayashi, IEEE Region 6 Director.
  • The IEEE Milestone Program: Brian Berg.
  • Remembering David Evans: Alan Kay ’69.
  • How It All Started: Pixar Animation Studios Co-founder Alvy Ray Smith leads a panel discussion with Ivan Sutherland, Bob Schumacker, and Rod Rougelot about the beginnings of the computer graphics revolution.
  • Stories as a Student: John Warnock ’69, Co-founder of Adobe.
  • The “Utah Illuminati”: Alvy Ray Smith moderates a discussion with John Warnock ’69, Jim Clark ’69, Henri Gouraud ’71, Ed Catmull ’74, Henry Fuchs ’75, Martin Newell ’75, and Jim Blinn ’78 about their PhD work at Utah, and their subsequent dramatic impact on CG and visualization.
  • Keynote: To Pixar, and Beyond! Ed Catmull ’74, Pixar Animation Studios Co-founder and past President.
  • Milestone Plaque Presentation from IEEE to Pres. Taylor R. Randall, Richard Brown, and Mary Hall of the University of Utah.
  • Lunch

Graphics Symposium Program (March 24, 1:45-5:00 pm)

  • Richard B. Brown: Welcome
  • Alvy Ray Smith, Event MC: Introductory Remarks
  • Ed Catmull: The Creative Environment
  • Martin Newell: The Teapot Again?  Why?
  • James Blinn: The Bumpy Road to Blinn Shading
  • Henri Gouraud: The French Connection and Image Analysis
  • Rod Rougelot & Bob Schumacker: Evans & Sutherland – Corporate Culture and Contributions to Computer Graphics
  • Henry Fuchs: From Ivan Sutherland’s Head-Mounted Display to Augmented Reality Eyeglasses: a 50-year Adventure
  • Jim Clark: Computer Graphics & Public Key Cryptography – Ivan Sutherland’s and Dave Evans’s Influence On My Life
  • Alan Kay: We were so lucky …
  • John Warnock: TBA

Live-streamed links


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