Pat Hanrahan

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Hanrahan in 2009

Patrick M. Hanrahan (born 1954)[citation needed] is an American 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, as well as scientific illustration and visualization.[1] He has received numerous awards, including the 2019 Turing Award.

Education and academic work[edit]

Hanrahan grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison and graduated with a B.S. in nuclear engineering in 1977,[2] continued his education there, and as a graduate student taught a new computer science course in graphics in 1981. One of his first students was an art graduate student, Donna Cox, now known for her art and scientific visualizations.[3] In the 1980s he went to work at the New York Institute of Technology Computer Graphics Laboratory and at Digital Equipment Corporation under Edwin Catmull.[4] He returned to U.W. Madison and completed his Ph.D. in biophysics in 1985.[5][6]


As a founding employee at Pixar Animation Studios, from 1986 to 1989 Hanrahan was part of the design of the RenderMan Interface Specification and the RenderMan Shading Language.[7][8] He was credited in Pixar productions including The Magic Egg (1984), Tin Toy (1988) and Toy Story (1995).[9]

In 1989 Hanrahan joined the faculty of Princeton University. In 1995 he moved to Stanford University. In 2003 Hanrahan co-founded Tableau Software[10] and remains its chief scientist.[11][12] In February 2005 Stanford University was named the first regional visualization and analytics center for the United States Department of Homeland Security, focused on problems in information visualization and visual analytics.[13][14] In 2011 Intel Research announced funding for a center for visual computing, co-led by Hanrahan and Jim Hurley of Intel.[15]


Hanrahan received three Academy Awards for his work in rendering and computer graphics research. In 1993 Hanrahan and other Pixar founding employees were awarded a scientific and engineering award for RenderMan.[9] In 2004 he shared a technical achievement award with Stephen R. Marschner and Henrik Wann Jensen, for research in simulating subsurface scattering of light in translucent materials.[16] In 2014 he shared a technical achievement award with Matt Pharr and Greg Humphreys, for their formalization and reference implementation of the concepts behind physically based rendering, as shared in their book Physically Based Rendering.[17]

Hanrahan received 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.[18] He was inducted into the 2018 ACM SIGGRAPH Academy Inaugural Class.[19]

He received the 2006 Career Award for Visualization Research from the IEEE Technical Committee on Visualization and Graphics (VGTC) at the IEEE Visualization Conference,[20][21]

He became a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1999,[22] a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007 and of the Association for Computing Machinery in 2008, and received three university teaching awards at Stanford.[23]

Hanrahan shared the 2019 ACM A.M. Turing Award with Catmull for their pioneering efforts on computer-generated imagery.[4][24]


  1. ^ "A Conversation with Kurt Akeley and Pat Hanrahan". ACM Queue. 6 (2). April 28, 2008.
  2. ^ "2012 Distinguished achievement award: Patrick Hanrahan". College of Engineering - University of Wisconsin-Madison. May 23, 2012. Archived from the original on March 18, 2020. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  3. ^ "A Survey of SIGGRAPH Women: Today's Role for Women in Digital Media, Visual Effects, Computer Graphics and Animation". Animation World Network. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Metz, Cade (March 18, 2020). "Pixar Pioneers Win $1 Million Turing Award". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  5. ^ Patrick M. Hanrahan (July 26, 1982). "Creating volume models from edge-vertex graphs". Proceedings of the 9th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques - SIGGRAPH '82. SIGGRAPH '82: Proceedings of the 9th Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. ACM. pp. 77–84. doi:10.1145/800064.801265. ISBN 978-0897910767. S2CID 7054703.
  6. ^ Drake Martinet (February 26, 2010). "Almost Famous: Pat Hanrahan of Tableau". All Things Digital. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  7. ^ Saty Raghavachary (July 30, 2006). "A brief introduction to RenderMan". ACM SIGGRAPH 2006 Courses on - SIGGRAPH '06. SIGGRAPH 2006 Courses. ACM. p. 2. doi:10.1145/1185657.1185817. ISBN 978-1595933645. S2CID 34496605.
  8. ^ Pat Hanrahan; Jim Lawson (August 4, 1990). "A language for shading and lighting calculations". SIGGRAPH 1990: Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. 24 (4): 289–298. CiteSeerX doi:10.1145/97880.97911.
  9. ^ a b Pat Hanrahan on IMDb
  10. ^ Nieva, Richard (November 5, 2011). "How Tableau Software makes business data beautiful". Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  11. ^ "Leadership". Tableau Software.
  12. ^ "Form D: Notice of Sale of Securities" (PDF). SEC. February 7, 2003. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  13. ^ "Stanford selected as first regional center for DHS' national visual analytics work". Press release. February 7, 2005. Archived from the original on April 7, 2006. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  14. ^ "Charlotte Visualization Center celebrates opening with Visionary Symposium". Archived from the original on November 24, 2016. Retrieved August 24, 2008.
  15. ^ "New Intel Center Driving the Future of Visual Computing". Press release. Intel. May 31, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  16. ^ Henrik Wann Jensen, Stephen R. Marschner, Marc Levoy and Pat Hanrahan (2001). "A practical model for subsurface light transport". Proceedings of the 28th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques - SIGGRAPH '01. SIGGRAPH 2001 Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. pp. 511–518. CiteSeerX doi:10.1145/383259.383319. ISBN 978-1581133745. S2CID 11408331.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "Technical Achievements To Be Honored With 2014 Academy Awards". Press release. January 8, 2014. Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  18. ^ "2003 Steven A. Coons Award: Pat Hanrahan". ACM SIGGRAPH. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  19. ^ "ACM SIGGRAPH Academy". ACM SIGGRAPH. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  20. ^ "The 2006 Visualization Career Award" (PDF). IEEE Computer Society VGTC. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  21. ^ "IEEE Visualization Conference and IEEE Information Visualization Conference Proceedings 2007 pre-pages". IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. 13 (6): ii–xxvii. 2007. doi:10.1109/TVCG.2007.70564. ISSN 2160-9306.
  22. ^ "Dr. Patrick M. Hanrahan". Member Directory. National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  23. ^ "Stanford scholars elected to American arts, sciences academy". Stanford Report. May 4, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  24. ^ "2019 ACM A.M. Turing Award Laureates". Retrieved March 20, 2020.

External links[edit]