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ACM Fellow Ed Catmull Garners Oscar for Computer Graphics Leadership

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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February 24, 2009, New York -- Ed Catmull, a computer scientist, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, and president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, received an award from the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his lifetime of technical contributions and leadership in the field of computer graphics for the motion picture industry. Catmull, who delivered a keynote address at the SIGGRAPH 2008 conference, was presented with an Oscar statuette for the Gordon E. Sawyer Award at the Scientific and Technical Awards Presentations earlier this month. 

            Catmull describes ACM SIGGRAPH (ACM’s Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques) as his “home community.”  He is regarded as an innovator by SIGGRAPH for his key contributions to fundamental computer graphics concepts like z-buffer and sub-division surfaces, and has held several leadership positions in SIGGRAPH over three decades.  In 1995, Catmull became a Fellow of ACM, and was cited for “his many and noteworthy advances in computer graphics as an individual researcher, as an inspiring leader in the field, as a director of organizations, and as a mentor for many.”  

            In the course of his career, Catmull founded the computer graphics laboratory at the New York Institute of Technology as well as the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd., and Pixar Animation Studios.  

            In 2000, Catmull and his team received an Oscar for an Academy Award® of Merit for their significant advancements to the field of motion picture rendering as illustrated in Pixar’s “RenderMan® .” He previously received two Scientific and Engineering Awards from the Academy.  In 1992, he was part of a team recognized for the development of “RenderMan” software.  In 1995, he was on a team honored for pioneering inventions in Digital Image Compositing.  He also shared a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy in 2005. 

            Catmull is a graduate of the University of Utah, where he received a B.S. in physics, and a B.S. and Ph.D. in computer science.  He was also a scholar at the New York Institute of Technology.


About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.  



The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques ( is an interdisciplinary community interested in research, technology, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Members include researchers, developers and users from the technical, academic, business, and art communities. SIGGRAPH provides information to the computer graphics community through its annual conference, publications and the SIGGRAPH Video Review.


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