Edwin E. Catmull and Patrick M. Hanrahan have been announced as the recipients of the 2019 ACM A.M. Turing Award.
- The Association for Computing Machinery today named Patrick M. (Pat) Hanrahan and Edwin E. (Ed) Catmull recipients of the 2019 ACM A.M. Turing Award.
- These men are being recognized for their fundamental contributions to 3-D computer graphics, and the revolutionary impact of these techniques on computer-generated imagery (CGI) in filmmaking and other applications.
- Catmull is a computer scientist and former president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios.
- Hanrahan, a founding employee at Pixar, is a professor in the Computer Graphics Laboratory at Stanford University.
- Both men have been influential in the computer graphics field developing hardware and software that has shaped the future of computer animation, making huge strides in the past three decades.
- 3-D animation is popular in both the film and gaming industries with many companies of the latter now focusing on the use of augmented and virtual reality to craft their immersive stories.
- ACM notes that Catmull and Hanrahan’s technical contributions remain essential to the current development of CGI imagery.
- On top of that, their understanding of programming graphics processing units (GPUs) has had an impact outside of the computer graphics, changing the way data center management and artificial intelligence is developed.
- The ACM A.M. The Turing Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” carries a $1 million prize, with financial support provided by Google, Inc.
- It is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing.
- Hanrahan and Catmull will formally receive the 2019 ACM A.M. Turing Award at ACM’s annual awards banquet on Saturday, June 20, 2020 in San Francisco, California.
What they’re saying:
- ACM President Cherri M. Pancake: “CGI has transformed the way films are made and experienced, while also profoundly impacting the broader entertainment industry. We are especially excited to recognize Pat Hanrahan and Ed Catmull, because computer graphics is one of the largest and most dynamic communities within ACM, as evidenced by the annual ACM SIGGRAPH conference. At the same time, Catmull and Hanrahan’s contributions demonstrate that advances in one specialization of computing can have a significant influence on other areas of the field.”
- Jeff Dean, Google Senior Fellow and SVP, Google AI: “Because 3-D computer graphic imagery is now so pervasive, we often forget what the field was like just a short time ago when a video game like Pong, which consisted of a white dot bouncing between two vertical white lines, was the leading-edge technology. The technology keeps moving forward, yet what Hanrahan and Catmull developed decades ago remains standard practice in the field today—that’s quite impressive. It’s important to recognize scientific contributions in CGI technology and educate the public about a discipline that will impact many areas in the coming years—virtual and augmented reality, data visualization, education, medical imaging, and more.”
About Hanrahan and Catmull:
Patrick M. Hanrahan
- Pat Hanrahan is the CANON Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Computer Graphics Laboratory at Stanford University.
- He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering (1977) and a PhD in Biophysics (1985) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- He held positions at the New York Institute of Technology and Digital Equipment Corporation in the 1980s before serving as a Senior Scientist at Pixar (1986-1989).
- He later served as an Associate Professor at Princeton University (1991-1994) and Professor at Stanford University (1994-present), where he has advised more than 40 PhD students. Hanrahan co-founded Tableau Software, a data analytics company that was acquired by Salesforce in August 2019.
- Hanrahan’s many honors include the 2003 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award for Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics.
- He is a Fellow of ACM and of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
- He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, in addition to induction into many other prestigious organizations.
Edwin E. Catmull
- Ed Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and a former President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.
- He earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics and Computer Science (1970) and a PhD in Computer Science (1974) from the University of Utah.
- During his career, Catmull was Vice President of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm Ltd., where he managed development in areas of computer graphics, video editing, video games and digital audio. He founded the Computer Graphics Lab at the New York Institute of Technology.
- Catmull received the 1993 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award for Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics, and the 2006 IEEE John von Neumann Medal for fundamental contributions to computer graphics and a pioneering use of computer animation in motion pictures.
- He is a Fellow of ACM and of the Visual Effect Society. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and of the National Academy of Engineering.