Academy Award-winning computer graphics researchers add Katayanagi Prizes to their credits

Stanford's Pat Hanrahan, Cornell's Doug James receive Carnegie Mellon/Tokyo University of Technology awards

Stanford University’s Pat Hanrahan and Cornell University’s Doug L. James, a pair of computer graphics innovators, have been named recipients of this year's Katayanagi Prizes in Computer Science.

The prizes are presented by Carnegie Mellon University and Tokyo University of Technology (TUT), and are endowed by Japanese entrepreneur and education advocate Koh Katayanagi, who founded TUT.

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Randal Bryant, dean of the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science, said of the recipients in a statement: “Although the two prize winners were selected independently, they both have made major contributions to the field of computer graphics. Their work has yielded many benefits, ranging from more realistic animation for Hollywood movies to improved modeling and visualization of real-world systems and new approaches to high-performance computing.”

James is an associate professor of computer science at Cornell and a former assistant professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon. He receives the Katayanagi Emerging Leadership Prize, which includes a $5,000 honorarium.

Hanrahan, the Canon USA Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford, will receive the Katayanagi Prize for Research Excellence. It includes a $10,000 honorarium. Among the former Pixar Animation Studios' employee's claims to fame: Hanrahan was chief architect of RenderMan, the widely-used movie industry system for creating virtual scenes and characters. RenderMan earned Hanrahan a 1992 Academy Award for Science and Technology. He won another in 2003.

James, separately, won an Academy Award (Technical Achievement Award) in 2012 for his role in building software called Wavelet Turbulence used to create swirling smoke and fiery explosive effects in popular movies.

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