Pat Hanrahan

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Pat Hanrahan (born 1954) is a computer graphics researcher, the Canon USA Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Computer Graphics Laboratory at Stanford University. His research focuses on rendering algorithms, graphics processing units,[1] as well as scientific illustration and visualization.

Education and academic work[edit]

Hanrahan received a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1985. In the 1980s, he worked at the New York Institute of Technology Computer Graphics Laboratory, Digital Equipment Corporation, and at Pixar. In 1989, he joined the faculty of Princeton University. In 1995, he moved to Stanford University.

Professional career[edit]

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.[2] More recently, Hanrahan has served as a co-founder and Chief Scientist of Tableau Software.[3] He has been involved with several Pixar productions, including Tin Toy, The Magic Egg, and Toy Story.[4]

In 2005, Stanford University was named the first Regional Visualization and Analytics Center (RVAC), where Hanrahan assembled a multidisciplinary team of researchers, focused on broad-ranging problems in information visualization and visual analytics.[5][6]


Hanrahan has received three Academy Awards for his work in rendering and computer graphics. He was awarded in 2014, along with Matt Pharr and Greg Humphreys, a Technical Achievement Oscar for their formalization and reference implementation of the concepts behind physically based rendering, as shared in their book Physically Based Rendering.[7] In 2004, Hanrahan was awarded another Technical Achievement Oscar, together with Stephen R. Marschner and Henrik Wann Jensen, for pioneering research in simulating subsurface scattering of light in translucent materials as presented in their paper "A Practical Model for Subsurface Light Transport.". Nearly a decade earlier, Hanrahan and other Pixar founding employees were awarded a Scientific and Engineering Oscar, for development of "RenderMan" software providing the means to digitally create scenes or elements that may be composited with other footage.[8]

Dr. Hanrahan has also received the 2006 Career Award for Visualization Research from the IEEE Visualization Conference, the 2003 SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award for Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics, for "leadership in rendering algorithms, graphics architectures and systems, and new visualization methods for computer graphics", and the 1993 SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Association for Computing Machinery (2008), and has received three university teaching awards during his tenure at Stanford University.[9]

External links[edit]