Some call them the fathers of computer graphics or the inventors of virtual reality.

That helped David C. Evans and Ivan E. Sutherland - founders of Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp. in Salt Lake City - to win the prestigious 1996 Price Waterhouse Information Technology Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement.Others who have won the award include Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Hewlett-Packard founders William Hewlett and David Packard, and H. Ross Perot.

The award was to be presented Monday evening at the annual Com-pu-ter-World Smithsonian Awards ceremony at the National Building Museum in Washington.

"David Evans and Ivan Sutherland took computer graphics from ground zero to three-D systems for modeling, visualization, simulation and virtual reality," said Scott Kaufman, a member of the awards committee and a Price Waterhouse partner.

"They brought a vital dimension to information technology with dynamic tools for science, industry and education - virtually all the disciplines that affect our day-to-day lives," Kaufman added.

Evans and Sutherland helped establish the computer science department at the University of Utah in the mid-1960s, focusing efforts on computer graphics.

In 1968, they founded Evans & Sutherland, which manufactures hardware and software for systems that produce three-dimensional visual graphics for training, engineering and virtual reality appli-ca-tions.

The company has delivered training systems to every branch of the U.S. military, NASA, the civil aviation industry, museums, planetariums and entertainment centers.

The academic and corporate work of the partners spawned numerous computer and high-tech firms and produced a large number of corporate presidents and university professors.

Evans graduated from the University of Utah in 1953 and spent nine years at the Bendix Corp., where he led the development of what may have been the first interactive computer.

In 1962, he became a professor at the University of California at Berkeley - and led development of one of the early, successful time-sharing systems called the XDS 940.

In 1965, he became chairman of the University of Utah's computer science department, which he organized and for which he recruited prominent talent, including Suther-land.

Prior to coming to Utah, Sutherland worked on research projects at the Department of Defense, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he received his doctorate in 1963.

View Comments

Sutherland's work at MIT included pioneering a graphics system called Sketchpad, which demonstrated interactive graphics for the first time. He subsequently taught at Harvard, where he devised the first head-mounted display, demonstrating in 1967 what is now called virtual reality.

Such work is recognized as the foundation of modern computer graphics, computer-aided engineering analysis and computer-aided design. His subsequent research included work in robotics, self-timed logic, circuits, computer architecture and chip inter-connection technology.

Sutherland is currently vice president and fellow at Sun Microsystems and was founding partner in 1980 of Advanced Technology Ventures.

Sun Microsystems and Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp. plan a Tuesday lunch to honor the pair.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.