Computer Scientist & Computer Graphics Pioneer
Rob Cook was co-creator of Pixar's RenderMan software, which revolutionized 3d animation and FX. In 2001, he and two colleagues received Oscars for their contributions, the first ever given for software. He has received the ACM SIGGRAPH Stephen A. Coons Award and been inducted into both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. Cook holds a B.S. in physics from Duke and an M.S in computer graphics from Cornell. At Cornell, his work with Ken Torrance became the basis of radiosity techniques. At Lucasfilm/Pixar, he developed the first programmable shader, now an essential part of GPUs and game engines as well as high-end renderers. He was the first to use Monte Carlo techniques in computer graphics, which enabled the simulation of complex, realistic lights and camera effects needed for computer-generated imagery to match the motion blur and depth of field of the live-action footage with which it was combined. Cook has been VP of Software Development at Pixar, run two startups, and served as Commissioner of GSA’s Technology Transformation Service under President Obama.