University of Utah
Department of Computer Science

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Computer Science History
History of Computer Science at University of Utah

The Computer Science Department at the University of Utah has a long history of distinguished faculty and alumni who have made substantial contributions to research and industry. This web page represents a brief overview of some of the most well-known people and their work.

"Almost every influential person in the modern computer-graphics community either passed through the University of Utah or came into contact with it in some way"

From The Algorithmic Image: Graphic Visions of the Computer Age, by Robert Rivlin

Companies founded by Utah faculty and alumni



Major contributions by Utah faculty and alumni



Time Line: Distinguished Utah faculty and alumni



David Evans
Computer Science Faculty 1965-1980


Ivan Sutherland
Computer Science Faculty 1968-1974


Robert Barton, Computer Science Faculty 1968-1973


Tom Stockham, Computer Science Faculty 1969-1981


Alan Kay
Ph.D. 1969


John Warnock
Ph.D. 1969


Chuck Seitz
Computer Science Faculty 1970-1973


Nolan Bushnell , B.S. 1969


Ronald Resch
Computer Science Faculty 1970-1979


Alan Ashton
Ph.D. 1970


Tony Hearn
Computer Science Faculty 1971-1981


Duane Call
Ph.D. 1971


Henri Gouraud
Ph.D. 1971


Elliott Organick
Computer Science Faculty 1973-1985


Ed Catmull
Ph.D. 1974


Jim Clark
Ph.D. 1974


Bui Tuong-Phong
Ph.D. 1975


Henry Fuchs
Ph.D. 1975


Martin Newell, Ph.D. 1975
Computer Science Faculty 1977-1979

  • Developed procedural modeling for object rendering
  • Co-developed the Painter's algorithm for surface rendering
  • Founder of Ashlar, Inc. , which develops computer-assisted design software.

Frank Crow
Ph.D. 1975

  • Developed anti-aliasing methods for edge smoothing
  • Former faculty at University of Texas at Austin and Ohio State University

Martin Griss
Computer Science Faculty 1977-1983

  • Developed Portable Standard LISP (PSL).

Suhas Patil
Computer Science Faculty 1977-1981


James Blinn
Ph.D. 1978

  • Invented the first method for representing surface textures in graphical images.
  • Scientist at JPL, where he worked on computer animation of the Voyager fly-bys.
  • Produced a PBS series called The Mechanical Universe , which used animation to teach the basic principles of physics and mathematics.
  • Collaborates with Tom Apostle on Project Mathematics! , an educational video series about mathematics.

Jim Kajiya
Ph.D. 1979

  • Developed the frame buffer concept for storing and displaying single-raster images.

Robert Johnson
Computer Science Faculty 1987-1993

  • Invented the magnetic ink printing technology used on virtually every check we write.
  • Invented the Johnson counter logic circuit.
  • Former Vice President of Engineering for Burroughs.


For information about the current faculty and research projects in the computer science department at the University of Utah, click here:



DISCLAIMER: We have tried to be as accurate and fair as possible, but please let us know if you find any errors, notice important omissions, or have additional information that might benefit this page! Please send mail to:

riloff@cs.utah.edu