Class Is in Session With Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan TURING AWARD LECTURES

These SIGGRAPH 2022 Featured Speakers are familiar faces! ACM A.M. Turing Award winners Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan return to the SIGGRAPH stage with “Turing Award Lectures.” Reflect with Catmull and Hanrahan in this combined session, which focuses on the history of computer graphics, shading languages, and the emergence of programmable graphics systems.


ACM A.M. Turing Award winners Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan return to the SIGGRAPH stage for a combined session discussing the history and advancements of the computer graphics industry.

In “Shading Languages and the Emergence of Programmable Graphics Systems,” Hanrahan charts the path of shading languages; first pioneered by Ken Perlin and Rob Cook, then becoming widely available in Pixar’s RenderMan. Early graphics and imaging hardware such as the Ikonas was also programmable. Nowadays, programmable GPUs are the faster computers in the world. This talk will review their history and discuss the broader implications for computing and the future of computer graphics.

In “The Wild, Unexpected, Exponential Ride Through Computer Graphics,” Catmull tells a brief tale of the early belief in the promise of computer graphics, including its early support by DARPA at Utah, the depiction of the research in graphics as impractical, the incorporation of graphics in workstations, the role of the SIGGRAPH community leading to advances enabling movies, the incorporation of algorithms in GPUs, and the exponential rise of computing power in those GPUs driven by the Game Industry leading to completely unexpected results.

Pat Hanrahan is the Canon Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Computer Graphics Laboratory at Stanford University. His research focuses on rendering algorithms, graphics processing units, and visualization. Hanrahan received a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. In 1989, he joined the faculty of Princeton University. In 1995, he moved to Stanford University. As a founding employee at Pixar Animation Studios in the 1980s, Hanrahan was part of the design of the RenderMan Interface Specification and the RenderMan Shading Language. More recently, Hanrahan served as a co-founder and CTO of Tableau Software. He has received three Academy Awards for Science and Technology, the SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award, the SIGGRAPH Stephen A. Coons Award, and the IEEE Visualization Career Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2019, he received the ACM A. M. Turing Award.

Dr. Ed Catmull is a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and served as president of Pixar for 33 years, while also serving as president of Walt Disney Animation Studios for 13 of those 33 years. Catmull’s New York Times best-selling book “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” published in 2014. Catmull is an ACM Turing Award Laureate, and he has been honored with five Academy Awards, including two Oscars and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Catmull founded three of the leading centers of computer graphics research — including the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd. and Pixar Animation Studios. Catmull has been a dedicated ACM SIGGRAPH participant for nearly 40 years. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Visual Effects Society. Catmull earned B.S. degrees in physics and computer science and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. In addition, he has received honorary doctorates from the University of Utah and Johns Hopkins University. In 2019, he retired as president of Pixar and Disney Animation and is active in writing and speaking.

You don’t want to miss this special presentation, taking place live in Vancouver for Full Conference and Full Conference Supporter participants and livestreamed to Virtual Conference and Virtual Conference Supporter participants. Learn more about Catmull and Hanrahan’s session, and register now to save your spot at SIGGRAPH 2022.

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