Ivan Edward Sutherland (born May 16, 1938) is an American computer scientist and Internet pioneer, widely regarded as the "father of computer graphics." His early work in computer graphics as well as his teaching with David C. Evans in that subject at the University of Utah in the 1970s was pioneering in the field. Sutherland, Evans, and his students from that era invented several foundations of modern computer graphics. He received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1988 for the invention of Sketchpad, an early predecessor to the sort of graphical user interface that has become ubiquitous in personal computers. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, as well as the National Academy of Sciences among many other major awards. In 2012 he was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology for "pioneering achievements in the development of computer graphics and interactive interfaces".
Sutherland earned his Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), his master's degree from Caltech, and his Ph.D. from MIT in EECS in 1963.
He invented Sketchpad in 1962 while at MIT. Professor Claude Shannon signed on to supervise Sutherland’s computer drawing thesis. Among others on his thesis committee were Marvin Minsky and Steven Coons. Sketchpad was an innovative program that influenced alternative forms of interaction with computers. Sketchpad could accept constraints and specified relationships among segments and arcs, including the diameter of arcs. It could draw both horizontal and vertical lines and combine them into figures and shapes. Figures could be copied, moved, rotated, or resized, retaining their basic properties. Sketchpad also had the first window-drawing program and clipping algorithm, which allowed zooming. Sketchpad ran on the Lincoln TX-2 computer and influenced Douglas Engelbart's oN-Line System. Sketchpad, in turn, was influenced by the conceptual Memex as envisioned by Vannevar Bush in his influential paper "As We May Think".
Sutherland replaced J. C. R. Licklider as the head of the US Defense Department Advanced Research Project Agency's Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO), when Licklider returned to MIT in 1964.
From 1965 to 1968, Sutherland was an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Harvard University. Work with student Danny Cohen in 1967 led to the development of the Cohen–Sutherland computer graphics line clipping algorithm. In 1968, with the help of his student Bob Sproull, he created the first virtual reality and augmented reality head-mounted display system, named The Sword of Damocles.
From 1968 to 1974, Sutherland was a professor at the University of Utah. Among his students there were Alan Kay, inventor of the Smalltalk language, Henri Gouraud who devised the Gouraud shading technique, Frank Crow, who went on to develop antialiasing methods, and Edwin Catmull, computer graphics scientist, co-founder of Pixar and now President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.
In 1968 he co-founded Evans and Sutherland with his friend and colleague David C. Evans. The company has done pioneering work in the field of real-time hardware, accelerated 3D computer graphics, and printer languages. Former employees of Evans and Sutherland included the future founders of Adobe (John Warnock) and Silicon Graphics (Jim Clark).
From 1974 to 1978 he was the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science at California Institute of Technology, where he was the founding head of that school's Computer Science department. He then founded a consulting firm, Sutherland, Sproull and Associates, which was purchased by Sun Microsystems to form the seed of its research division, Sun Labs.
Sutherland was a Fellow and Vice President at Sun Microsystems. Sutherland was a visiting scholar in the Computer Science Division at University of California, Berkeley (Fall 2005–Spring 2008). On May 28, 2006, Ivan Sutherland married Marly Roncken. Sutherland and Marly Roncken are leading the research in Asynchronous Systems at Portland State University.
He has two children, Juliet and Dean, and four grandchildren, Belle, Robert, William and Rose. Ivan's elder brother, Bert Sutherland, is also a prominent computer science researcher.
- Computer History Museum Fellow "for the Sketchpad computer-aided design system and for lifelong contributions to computer graphics and education," 2005
- R&D 100 Award, 2004 (team)
- IEEE 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
- ACM Software System Award, 1993
- Turing Award, 1988
- Computerworld Honors Program, Leadership Award, 1987
- IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award, 1986
- Member, United States National Academy of Sciences, 1978
- National Academy of Engineering member, 1973
- National Academy of Engineering First Zworykin Award, 1972
- CyberEdge Journal Virtual Reality Pioneer Award, 1996
- Kyoto Prize 2012, in the category of advanced technology.
- National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee 2016.
- "A display connected to a digital computer gives us a chance to gain familiarity with concepts not realizable in the physical world. It is a looking glass into a mathematical wonderland."
- "The ultimate display would, of course, be a room within which the computer can control the existence of matter. A chair displayed in such a room would be good enough to sit in. Handcuffs displayed in such a room would be confining, and a bullet displayed in such a room would be fatal."
- When asked, "How could you possibly have done the first interactive graphics program, the first non-procedural programming language, the first object oriented software system, all in one year?" Ivan replied: "Well, I didn't know it was hard."
- "It’s not an idea until you write it down."
- "Without the fun, none of us would go on!"
Sutherland has more than 60 patents, including:
- US Patent 7,636,361 (2009) Apparatus and method for high-throughput asynchronous communication with flow control
- US Patent 7,417,993 (2008) Apparatus and method for high-throughput asynchronous communication
- US Patent 7,384,804 (2008) Method and apparatus for electronically aligning capacitively coupled mini-bars
- US patent 3,889,107 (1975) System of polygon sorting by dissection
- US patent 3,816,726 (1974) Computer Graphics Clipping System for Polygons
- US patent 3,732,557 (1973) Incremental Position-Indicating System
- US patent 3,684,876 (1972) Vector Computing System as for use in a Matrix Computer
- US patent 3,639,736 (1972) Display Windowing by Clipping
- Elizabeth H. Oakes (2007). Encyclopedia of World Scientists. Infobase Publishing. p. 701. ISBN 978-1-4381-1882-6. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- "Ivan E. Sutherland Display Windowing by Clipping Patent No. 3,639,736". NIHF. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
Sutherland is widely regarded as the “father of computer graphics.”
- "The 2012 Kyoto Prize Laureates". Inamori Foundation. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- Moschovitis Group; Hilary W. Poole; Laura Lambert; Chris Woodford; Christos J. P. Moschovitis (2005). The Internet: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-659-0.
- Page, Dan; Cynthia Lee (1999). "Looking Back at Start of a Revolution". UCLA Today. The Regents of the University of California (UC Regents). Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- "About ARC". Asynchronous Research Center web site. Portland State University. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
- CHM. "Ivan E. Sutherland — CHM Fellow Award Winner". Retrieved March 30, 2015.
- R&D 100
- von Neumann Medal
- ACM Fellow
- EFF Pioneer
- "Software System Award". ACM Awards. Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
- Computerworld Leadership Award
- Piore Award
- NAS Member
- NAE member
- "Kyoto Prize". Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- "Ivan E. Sutherland Display Windowing by Clipping Patent No. 3,639,736". Retrieved 2016-02-13.
- Sutherland, Ivan E. (1965). "The Ultimate Display". Proceedings of IFIP Congress. pp. 506–508. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Alan Kay (Speaker) (1987). Doing with Images Makes Symbols (Videotape). University Video Communications, Apple Computer. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Burton, Robert (2012). "Ivan Sutherland". A.M. Turing Awards. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Sutherland, Ivan (April 1996), Technology and Courage, CiteSeerX
- SketchPad, 2004 from "CAD software – history of CAD CAM" by CADAZZ
- Sutherland's 1963 Ph.D. Thesis from Massachusetts Institute of Technology republished in 2003 by University of Cambridge as Technical Report Number 574, Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System. His thesis supervisor was Claude Shannon, father of information theory.
- Duchess Chips for Process-Specific Wire Capacitance Characterization, The, by Jon Lexau, Jonathan Gainsley, Ann Coulthard and Ivan E. Sutherland, Sun Microsystems Laboratories Report Number TR-2001-100, October 2001
- Technology And Courage by Ivan Sutherland, Sun Microsystems Laboratories Perspectives Essay Series, Perspectives-96-1 (April 1996)
- Biography, "Ivan Sutherland" circa 1996, hosted by the Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing
- Counterflow Pipeline Processor Architecture, by Ivan E. Sutherland, Charles E. Molnar (Charles Molnar), and Robert F. Sproull (Bob Sproull), Sun Microsystems Laboratories Report Number TR-94-25, April 1994
- Oral history interview with Ivan Sutherland at Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Sutherland describes his tenure as head of the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) from 1963 to 1965. He discusses the existing programs as established by J. C. R. Licklider and the new initiatives started while he was there: projects in graphics and networking, the ILLIAC IV, and the Macromodule program.