Who won the Turing Award this year

Turing Award 2020 for the graphic pioneers Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan

The animation experts Edwin Catmull and Patrick Hanrahan are honored with the Turing Award 2020 for their "fundamental contributions to 3D computer graphics". "Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan have fundamentally influenced the field of computer graphics through conceptual innovation and their participation in the development of software and hardware," explains the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM), which awards the one million US dollar award . "Your work has revolutionized filmmaking and created a completely new genre of purely computer-animated films."

Both computer scientists worked for the animation studio Pixar, which was taken over from Lucasfilm by Apple founder Steve Jobs at the time. Catmull is a multiple Oscar winner and led the now Disney-owned studio until he retired in 2018. Hanrahan, meanwhile professor at the Laboratory for Computer Graphics at Stanford University, played a key role in the development of the RenderMan software, which was used to calculate the animated film "Toy Story" from 1991 to 1995 - the first motion picture made entirely on the computer.

Pixar founding team

According to the current state of planning, the Turing Award is to be presented in June. The winners were surprised to have won the prestigious Turing Award, which is considered the Nobel Prize for computer scientists.

Catmull, born in 1945, was a student and assistant to Ivan Sutherland, who developed Sketchpad, the world's first graphics program, for which he received the Turing Award in 1988. In 1972 Catmull created the sequence "A Computer Animated Hand" as an instructional film for computer graphics, which was later used in the science fiction film Futureworld. Catmull first worked on computer effects for George Lucas (Lucasfilms and Industrial Light & Magic) before founding Pixar Animation Studios with Steve Jobs in 1986.

Pat Hanrahan, born in 1955, was one of the first employees at Pixar, where he worked as the chief developer of the RenderMan software. The atomic scientist and biophysicist previously taught computer graphics and the visualization of scientific models at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before setting up the computer graphics laboratory at the University of New York, which was co-financed by the Digital Equipment Corporation.

For "Toy Story" RenderMan calculated on 117 SPARCstation 20 from Sun Microsystems. It took four years and 800,000 machine hours to complete the final version of the 81-minute long computer film about the secret life of toys. The 1570 takes of the film, each 300 Mbytes, were "cut" with the video editing software from Avid on computers from Silicon Graphics.

The production of "Toy Story" cost $ 30 million and grossed more than ten times that at the box office. Director John Lasseter won a special Oscar with Toy Story and emphasized at the time that more computer scientists than actors had worked on the film. (vbr)

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