SIGGRAPH Spotlight: Episode 44 – A Conversation With Alvy Ray Smith

by | 4 June 2021 | Conferences, Graphics, Industry Leaders

Headshot courtesy of Kathleen King

In this episode of SIGGRAPH Spotlight, SIGGRAPH 2021 Retrospective Chair Andres Burbano (associate professor, Universidad de los Andes) sits down with industry icon Alvy Ray Smith. Here, Alvy discusses his rich history with computer graphics and takes a deep dive into the three parts of his upcoming book, “A Biography of the Pixel.” Finally, Andres and Alvy share hints about the Retrospective program at SIGGRAPH 2021.

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Learn more about Alvy Ray Smith below, and register now to join us online for SIGGRAPH 2021, 9–13 August.

About Today’s Guest

Dr. Alvy Ray Smith was instrumental to the founding of two successful startups: Pixar and Altamira. Smith was the first director of computer graphics at Lucasfilm and an original member of the Computer Graphics Lab of the New York Institute of Technology. He was the first Graphics Fellow at Microsoft and was at Xerox PARC for the birth of the personal computer, the internet, and some of the earliest color pixels. Smith has received two technical Academy Awards, and he invented the first full-color paint program, the HSV (or HSB) color transform, and the alpha channel. Smith was instrumental, as a Regent, in initiating the Visible Human Project of the National Library of Medicine, and he was active in the development of the HDTV standard, arguing for progressive scan. Smith holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and an honorary doctorate from New Mexico State University. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and fellow of the American Society of Genealogists. Smith is a founding member of the SIGGRAPH Academy and is published widely in theoretical computer science, computer graphics, and scholarly genealogy. Smith is publishing a book, “A Biography of the Pixel,” with MIT Press in August 2021.

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