Computer Scientist & CG Pioneer
Turner Whitted received BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from Duke University in 1969 and 1970 respectively. After 18 months of military service, he returned to his job at Western Electric and was immediately loaned to Bell Labs working as a hardware design engineer for sonar signal processing projects. In 1975 he enrolled full time as a student at North Carolina State University and received a PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1978 after which he joined Bell Labs as a member of the technical staff working on a number of research projects including recursive ray tracing. Later he co-founded Numerical Design Limited and simultaneously taught as an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina, and in 1997 he began a 15 year term at Microsoft Research. After a brief retirement he joined NVIDIA’s research group. Since 2018 he has been fully retired except for adjunct faculty positions at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina. His projects have ranged from text rendering, game engines, and procedural geometry to low latency hardware for AR. He has served on the editorial boards of IEEE CG&A and ACM TOG, as papers chair for SIGGRAPH ’97, and as a member of the SIGGRAPH Executive Committee. He is a recipient of the ACM SIGGRAPH Achievement Award and Coons Award. He is a Fellow of ACM and IEEE and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.