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Pixar graphics pioneers win Turing Prize

Prize often referred to as the "Nobel Prize of computing"

Two of Pixar Animations Studios original employees have been awarded the Turing Prize, the biggest honour in the computing industry.

Pat Hanrahan and Ed Catmull have been honoured for their work on the computer graphics technology that was key to creating the first Toy Story film. The Turing Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” carries a $1 million prize.

“Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan have fundamentally influenced the field of computer graphics through conceptual innovation and contributions to both software and hardware,” said the Association for Computing Machinery, which presents the award.

“Their work has had a revolutionary impact on filmmaking, leading to a new genre of entirely computer-animated feature films beginning 25 years ago with Toy Story and continuing to the present day.”

“CGI has transformed the way films are made and experienced, while also profoundly impacting the broader entertainment industry,” added ACM president Cherri M. Pancake. “We are especially excited to recognise Pat Hanrahan and Ed Catmull, because computer graphics is one of the largest and most dynamic communities within ACM.

“At the same time, Catmull and Hanrahan’s contributions demonstrate that advances in one specialisation of computing can have a significant influence on other areas of the field. For example, Hanrahan’s work with shading languages for GPUs, has led to their use as general-purpose computing engines for a wide range of areas.”