Ivan Edward Sutherland

Ivan Edward Sutherland

American computer scientist and Internet pioneer.
Date of Birth: 16.05.1938
Country: USA

Biography of Ivan Edward Sutherland

Ivan Edward Sutherland is an American scientist in the field of computer science and a pioneer of the internet. He received the Turing Award from the ACM in 1988 for his creation of "Sketchpad," a precursor to future computer-aided design systems, which had an early prototype of a graphical user interface. He also applied the object-oriented approach to programming for the first time.

Sutherland obtained his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), his Master's degree from the California Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1963.

Sketchpad, an innovative program created by Sutherland, had a significant impact on alternative computer interfaces. It allowed for the manipulation of geometric constraints and relationships, such as the diameter of arcs. Sketchpad could draw horizontal and vertical lines and combine them to create various shapes. These shapes could be copied, moved, rotated, or scaled while preserving their fundamental properties. Additionally, Sketchpad implemented the first window clipping algorithm, which enabled scaling. It ran on the Lincoln TX-2 computer and influenced the development of the oN-Line System.

Sutherland replaced J.C.R. Licklider as the head of the Information Processing Technology Office (IPTO) at ARPA (now known as DARPA) when Licklider returned to MIT in 1964.

From 1965 to 1968, he served as an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Harvard University. With the help of his student Bob Sproull, he created what is considered the first virtual and augmented reality head-mounted display in 1968. The device, called "The Sword of Damocles," was primitive both in terms of its interface and realism and was suspended from the ceiling due to its weight. The virtual environment consisted of simple wireframe models of rooms. Another one of his Harvard students, Danny Cohen, was the first to simulate flight over ARPANet. In 1967, Cohen's work on flight simulation led to the development of the Cohen-Sutherland algorithm, which efficiently finds line segments inside a rectangle.

From 1968 to 1974, Sutherland was a professor at the University of Utah. Among his students were Alan Kay, the inventor of the Smalltalk programming language; Henri Gouraud, who devised the Gouraud shading method; Franklin Crow, who developed anti-aliasing techniques; and Edwin Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and current president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. In 1968, he co-founded Evans & Sutherland with his friend and colleague David Evans. The company was a pioneer in hardware for real-time 3D graphics acceleration and printer languages. Former employees of Evans & Sutherland include the founders of Adobe (John Warnock) and Silicon Graphics (Jim Clark).

From 1974 to 1978, Sutherland worked at the California Institute of Technology, where he founded the computer science department. He later established the consulting firm, Sutherland, Sproull and Associates, which was subsequently acquired by Sun Microsystems and became the basis for Sun Labs, the company's research division. Dr. Sutherland served as a Vice President at Sun Microsystems. He was also a visiting scientist in the computer science department at the University of California, Berkeley from the fall of 2005 to the spring of 2008. Currently, Dr. Sutherland and Marly Roncken lead research on asynchronous systems at Portland State University, where he has formed a group and founded the Asynchronous Research Center (ARC).

Sutherland has two children and three grandchildren. On May 28, 2006, Ivan Sutherland married Marly Roncken. His older brother, Bert Sutherland, is also a prominent computer scientist.

Throughout his career, Ivan Sutherland has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Computer History Museum Fellow (2005), R&D 100 Award (2004) as part of a team, the John von Neumann Medal (1998), The Franklin Institute's Certificate of Merit (1996), Association for Computing Machinery Fellow (1994), Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF Pioneer Award (1994), the Turing Award (1988), Computerworld Honors Program Leadership Award (1987), IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award (1986), Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences (1978), Member of the National Academy of Sciences (1973), and the National Academy of Engineering First Zworykin Award (1972).