Kyoto Prize for Ivan Sutherland
Kyoto Prize for Ivan Sutherland
Written by Historian   
Thursday, 28 June 2012

Ivan Sutherland, widely considered to be the father of computer graphics, has been awarded the 2012 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology by the Inamori Foundation

In its announcement the Inamori Foundation stated:

Numerous computer graphic-based applications -- ranging from films, games and virtual reality systems to educational materials, scientific and technological simulations, and other design aids for engineers -- are descendants of Dr. Sutherland's original work on Sketchpad.


Sketchpad with Sutherland at the controls


Sutherland, who is now 74 and a Visiting Scientist at Portland State University, made breakthrough contributions to graphical user interfaces much earlier in his career.

He is best known for his computer program called Sketchpad, which allowed a pointing device to interact and manipulate visible objects on a computer screen. Sketchpad was submitted as part of Sutherland's doctoral thesis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963.

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?" he replied:

"Well, I didn't know it was hard!"



For more about his career and contributions to computer science, see Ivan Sutherland - Father of Graphics.

The Kyoto Prize, established by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, President of The Inamori Foundation, was first awarded in 1985 when one of its three annual awards went to Claude Shannon, who was Sutherland's PhD supervisor and is often referred to as the "father of information theory". Other laureates who names are well known in Computer Science include John McCarthy (1998, Artificial Intelligence) Maurice Wilkes (1992, Information Science) Jack Kilby (1993, Electronics), Donald Knuth (1996, Information Science) and in 1997 it went to the team of designers of the Intel 4004, Federico Faggin, Marcian Edward (Ted) Hoff, Stanley Mazor and Masatoshi Shima which was an unusual departure for a prize that is normally awarded to a single individual.

Coming into the 21st century the recipients of the Advanced Technology Prize for contributions to Information Science have been Antony Hoare (2000), Alan Kay (2004) and Richard Manning Karp (2008).

More Information

Inamori Foundation - 2012 Kyoto Prize Laureates

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