Ivan Sutherland

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

Ivan SutherlandName: Ivan Edward Sutherland

Born: May 16, 1938, in Hastings, Nebraska, USA

Computer-related contributions

  • American computer scientist and Internet pioneer. Best known for his invention in 1963 of "Sketchpad", an early predecessor to the graphical user interface now common in all personal computers.
  • Created the first interactive graphics program, the first non-procedural programming language, the first object oriented software system, all in one year.
  • Co-founded Evans and Sutherland with his friend David C. Evans. A company known for its pioneering work in the field of real-time hardware, accelerated 3D computer graphics, and printer languages.

Honors and awards

  • Kyoto Prize (2012).
  • Computer History Museum Fellow (2005).
  • R&D 100 Award (2004).
  • IEEE John von Neumann Medal (1998).
  • The Franklin Institute's Certificate of Merit (1996).
  • Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery (1988).
  • Computerworld Honors Program, Leadership Award (1987).


"It's not an idea until you write it down."

"A display connected to a digital computer gives us a chance to gain familiarity with concepts not realizable in the physical world. It is a looking glass into a mathematical wonderland."

"The ultimate display would, of course, be a room within which the computer can control the existence of matter. A chair displayed in such a room would be good enough to sit in. Handcuffs displayed in such a room would be confining, and a bullet displayed in such a room would be fatal."