David Evans

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Born: February 24, 1924

Death: October 3, 1998

David C. Evans (1924–1998), attended the University of Utah to study electrical engineering, eventually earning a doctorate degree in physics. After a short stint as project manager at the Bendix Corporation working on a version of an early personal computer, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, pioneering key developments in the field of virtual memory.

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In 1965, the University of Utah recruited Evans to establish a state of the art computer science program. In 1968, he convinced his friend from Berkeley Ivan Sutherland, a fellow computer graphics pioneer, to leave his teaching position at Harvard and move to Utah, which he agreed to with the condition they start a computer graphics company together.

This power collaboration shaped the history of the computer industry and built one of the most influential university computer graphics programs in the country. Students were encouraged to experiment and find creative solutions based on the theory computers could be used interactively for a variety of tasks.

Evans and Sutherland envisioned the use of computers as simulators by using graphics technology to replace real objects, aiding in cheaper costs for military and other development projects. The genesis of the Evans and Sutherland Computer Corporation (E&S) started in the barracks on the University of Utah campus with students recruited from the university. E&S made advances in real-time hardware, accelerated 3D computer graphics, and printer languages, and continues today as a major supplier of military and commercial graphics systems.

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Evans & Sutherland is the world’s first computer graphics company and has developed and advanced computer graphics technology for almost four decades. Focusing primarily on digital planetariums and digital cinemas worldwide, E&S is the world’s leading provider of complete fulldome digital theater systems and the world’s leading producer and distributor of fulldome shows, including giant screen films transfers in 2D and 3D.

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Our flagship system, Digistar, the fastest-selling digital planetarium in the world, offers fulldome video playback, realtime computer graphics, and a complete 3D digital astronomy package fully integrated into a single theater system. As a full-service system provider, E&S also offers Spitz domes, hybrid planetarium systems including Goto optical mechanical projectors integrated with Digistar and a full range of theater systems from audio and lighting to theater automation.

E&S markets include planetariums, science centers, themed entertainment venues, and premium large-format theaters. E&S products have been installed in over 1,300 theaters worldwide.

The creative and inventive atmosphere Evans and Sutherland fostered as professors and employers stimulated some of the most successful minds in the field of computer science. Many of Evans and Sutherland’s students went on to further expand the field including Alan Kay, inventor of Smalltalk language; Ewin Catmull, cofounder of Pixar and currently President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios; John Warnock, the founder of Adobe; and Jim Clark, of Silicon Graphics.

In Robert Rivlin’s book The Algorithmic Image: Graphic Visions of the Computer age, he says, “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.”

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