Ivan Sutherland 以及他的門生們

Feb 3 2019

這是一篇文不對題的文章。重點既不是 Ivan Sutherland,也不是他與他的門生們之間的故事。 充其量,不過就是幾位有點意思的人的幾句話罷了。 如果,你看了文章之後,因為其中的幾句話而覺得這個農曆年除了吃吃喝喝,還有那麼點不一樣的話, 那也一定與這則文章無關。那只是在這個充份休養的年假中,你獨自悟出來的一點道理…

1963 年的 1 月 30 日,那天是初六,開市後的第二天…

將近快 60 年前,一位 MIT 博士生的論文成果 Sketchpad, 被認定為是人類歷史上最早的人機介面(HCI)、 最早的現代電腦輔助設計(CAD)軟體, 更是電腦圖學界(CG)的一大突破。 圖形使用者介面(GUI)可以說是受到它的啟發,甚至是物件導向程式(OOP)的概念也可以追溯到它。 它是第一個互動式電腦程式,結合了藝術創造以及工程科技,更是之後眾多互動式系統的藍本。

隨後,這位畢了業的 MIT 博士生去了猶他大學(University of Utah)任教與研做究, 他與他的門生們,一起開創了 Utah 王朝,同時也(無意間)開啟了輝煌的歷史,影響至今。

“The screen is a window through which one sees a virtual world. The challenge is to make that world look real, act real, sound real, feel real.”
~ Ivan Sutherland

“And so it seems to me the most important thing that adults need to do with young people is not squash their curiosity, but to help them exercise their curiosity and learn how to use it.”
~ Ivan Sutherland

Ivan Sutherland 在猶他時,與不少人合作過,也帶過不少研究生(碩博士生),有不少舉足輕重的門徒。以下有幾位對我來說特別的有意思。


James Henry Clark,連續創業家。先後成立了包括 Silicon Graphics Inc. 與 Netscape!他的 SGI 工作站一度整個“統治“了好萊塢電影特效產業。

“Entrepreneurship is the key to emerging technologies”
~ James H. Clark

“It’s very hard to explain to people who don’t program, but the object-oriented programming system made programming the Mac and iPhone so easy.”
~ James H. Clark


Nolan Bushnell 創成立了 Atari,那家 Steve Jobs 也曾混過的遊戲(機台)公司,同時也是創造了 Pong, Space Invaders, Super Breakout 等大作的 Atari。

“The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.”
~ Nolan Bushnell

“Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference.”
~ Nolan Bushnell

“All the best games are easy to learn and difficult to master. They should reward the first quarter and the hundredth.”
~ Nolan Bushnell’s Theorem


John Warnock 是所有數位創造者都應該認識的一位先生,因為他創立了 Adobe!給世界帶來了 PostScript, PDF,同時自 Thomas Knoll, John Knoll 兩兄弟手上買下了 Photoshop 的版權!

“I have seen that technology has contributed to improved communication, that it’s contributed to better health care, that it’s contributed to better food supplies, that it has contributed to all the basic human needs.”
~ John Warnock

“A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”
~ John Warnock


Alan Kay 發明了物件導向程式設計(object-oriented programming)、Dynabook(筆記型電腦與平板電腦的始祖)、圖形使用者介面(GUI)…喔,對了,他還曾經在 Atari 擔任過 Chief (no Data) Scientist,待過 Apple, Disney, HP, …

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
~ Alan Kay

“If you don’t fail at least 90 percent of the time, you’re not aiming high enough.”
~ Alan Kay

“Computer science inverts the normal. In normal science, you’re given a world, and your job is to find out the rules. In computer science, you give the computer the rules, and it creates the world.”
~ Alan Kay


Jim Blinn 是一位有點古怪而且幽默極了的圖學大師。他的貢獻,只有電腦圖學界的職人才會懂,因為他的研究,我們才有許許如生的畫面。

“As technology advances, the rendering time remains constant.”
~ Jim Blinn

“All problems in computer graphics can be solved with a matrix inversion.”
~ Jim Blinn


Ed Catmull 創立了皮克斯(Pixar),與藝術工作者、電影工作者、技術研發人員…等,開啟了電腦動畫。教會了我們怎麼融合藝術、技術以及商業,集齊大成。

“If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.”
~ Ed Catmull

“Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.”
~ Ed Catmull

“Be patient. Be authentic. And be consistent. The trust will come.”
~ Ed Catmull

想像一下,James H. Clark, Nolan Bushnell, John Warnock, Alan Kay, Jim Blinn 以及 Ed Catmull,他們同時出現在 Ivan Sutherland 的實驗室,以學術的彈性與嚴謹,討論著電腦圖學領域以及其它相關領域上,或研究或應用,的問題。

可以這麼說,Ivan Sutherland 與他的門生們,給人類歷史帶來了 SGI 工作站、Atari 大型機台與遊戲、Adobe Photoshop、OOP、筆電與平板、阿凡達以及巴斯光年。

他們這一群人的“產值“很高吧!不管是學術上、人類社會影響上、商業價值上、或甚至是人性的探討上…


對了,我有提到一點:上述所有人,除了其中的一位,其它人都有 PhD 的學位嘛!

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