Richard Shoup (programmer)

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Richard Shoup's SuperPaint computer, a Data General Nova 800, at the Computer History Museum

Richard Shoup (July 30, 1943 – July 18, 2015) was an American computer scientist and entrepreneur, mainly known from his pioneering work on computer graphics and animation. Originally from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, he last resided in San Jose, California.[1] He earned a BSEE and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. His Ph.D. thesis was the first to explore programmable logic and reconfigurable hardware, now widely used in computers and consumer electronics. In 1973, while working as one of the first employees at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, he built SuperPaint, one of the first image editing programs.[2][3] He worked closely with Pixar cofounder Alvy Ray Smith on this. In 1979, he co-founded Aurora Systems, a now-defunct company that was an early producer of digital animation hardware and software. He received both an Emmy and an Academy Award for this foundational work. Since 2000, he was an associate at the Boundary Institute for the Study of Foundations, a non-profit organisation involved in research into physical sciences and parapsychology.[1]

An avid musician in his spare time, Dick played jazz trombone for many years in various Big Bands throughout the Bay Area.[4]

He succumbed to lung cancer, July 18, 2015.


  1. ^ a b Personal bio on the Boundary Institute website
  2. ^ Shoup, Richard. The SuperPaint System (1973-1979), available on Richard Shoup's home page, consulted on 16 September 2011
  3. ^ Shoup, Richard. 2001. SuperPaint: An early frame buffer graphics system. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 23(2), 32-37 (Download article)
  4. ^