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Kyoto Prize laureate: Ivan Sutherland

Ivan Sutherland, a scientist at Portland State’s Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, has been awarded the 2012 Kyoto Prize for his lifetime of work in computer graphics.

The Kyoto Prize is Japan’s highest private award for global achievement, given by the Inamori Foundation to “those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of humankind.” 

Sutherland, known as the father of computer graphics, won this year’s Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology. He will receive a diploma, a Kyoto Prize medal and a gift of 50 million yen (about $630,000) at a ceremony in Kyoto, Japan on Nov. 10. 

"Having a great mind like Dr. Ivan Sutherland in the Maseeh College gives me and my colleagues unlimited joy," said Renjeng Su, dean of the Maseeh College. "His work in computer graphics has had a profound impact on design, computing, and the arts. Ivan Sutherland and Marly Roncken, two of our research faculty, are working on the next big thing: asynchronous computing. I look forward to the next wonderful world of technology Ivan and his team are going to unveil for us."

In its award announcement, the foundation noted Sutherland’s early work developing Sketchpad in 1963, “a graphical interface program that allowed the user to directly manipulate figures on a screen through a pointing device.”

“Sketchpad’s interactive interface was years ahead of its time; today’s computer aided design (CAD) systems are just one common example of how this innovation has contributed to the field,” according to the foundation.

Sutherland, 74, joined Portland State as a visiting scientist in 2009, when he started the Asynchronous Research Center at PSU with his wife, Marly Roncken. They are working to advance technology for the design of self-timed and asynchronous circuits, systems, design methods, and design tools.

Sutherland received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1988. He has a degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, Caltech, and MIT. He has been on the faculty of Harvard University, the University of Utah, and Caltech. He was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley before he joined Portland State University.