The Tremendous VR and CG Systems—of the 1960s

Ivan Sutherland has blazed a truly unique trail through computing over the past six decades. One of the most influential figures in the story of computing, he helped to open new pathways for others to explore and dramatically extend: interactive computer graphics, virtual reality, 3D computer graphics, and asynchronous systems, to name but a few.

The Computer History Museum recently made public its two-part oral history with Sutherland. These interviews present a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Sutherland’s life in computing, in his own words. The interview transcripts can be downloaded here and here. And the two-part video of the interview is available here and here.

Bob Sproull, a lifelong colleague of Sutherland and himself a major figure in computing, served as instigator, interviewer, and editor for these oral histories, and he involved me, Marc Weber, and Jim Waldo in the effort. The Museum is making this oral history interview public during the 60th anniversary year of Sutherland’s breakthrough in interactive computer graphics, the program Sketchpad, for which he earned his Ph.D. from MIT in 1963.