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Evans And Sutherland
Founded in 1968 by two university professors,

David Evans and Ivan Sutherland, Evans & Sutherland is one of the premier

computer graphics companies in the world. The company, located in Salt Lake

City on a 36-acre campus in the University of Utah Research Park, is noted

for its work in the areas of modeling, visualization, simulation and virtual

reality applications.

In the 1960s computers had somewhat limited applications and were primarily

used for routine tasks such as information sorting and billing. This would

quickly change when two university professors, who envisioned computers

that could do much more, brought their unique talents together to develop

a company that would forever change the face of the computer industry.

Ivan Sutherland and David Evans were professors in the University of

Utah’s computer science division when they decided to pool their

talents and start a company that would allow computers to be used as powerful

tools, rather than merely processors. Both were leading researchers in

the computer science industry—Sutherland was already renowned for

his work that lead to Sketchpad, the first computer program that allowed

the manipulation of objects directly on a computer screen; Evans, who

established the University of Utah’s computer science program, had

a deep interest in the interaction between computers and people. Both

men saw the computer’s potential as a simulator, capable of creating

artificial objects and worlds that could replace more expensive physical

models. They chose to start their company by developing graphics programs,

feeling they were, as Evans put it, "an essential link between the

human user and the simulation."

With backing from family members, friends and from Venrock, an investment

group that specialized in funding the research and development of new

technologies in the aviation industry, Evans & Sutherland was born

in 1968 in an old army barracks on the University of Utah campus. In the

beginning, limited funding and a small workforce restricted the small

company’s efforts, narrowing its focus to a single project at a time.

By necessity, E&S first worked on refining the components of Sutherland’s

graphics program, which would be an integral part of many of the company’s

future products.

E&S sold its first graphics system in 1969. Called the LDS1 (Line

Drawing System), it was sophisticated and expensive for its time, limiting

its use to the few people who could not only understand how to use it

but who also could afford to buy it. The LDS1 was followed by a general-purpose

version and by a high-performance system designed for computer animation.

Both were financially unsuccessful but generated a number of new ideas

for the fledgling company.

Evans & Sutherland received additional funding through Venrock in

the early 1970s, allowing it to broaden its focus and develop new products

for specific markets. A collaboration with RSL, a flight simulator company,

launched E&S’s Visual Systems group, which developed the NOVOVIEW

series of computer-generated visual systems for flight simulators, replacing

earlier simulation systems that relied on filmed images of physical models

of cities and landscapes. The CT product line of high-performance, higher-cost,

continuous-tone image generators was also developed by E&S’s

Visual Systems group for the research and development arena.

E&S’s earlier work in the graphics arena also continued during

the ‘70s. A group of engineers in the company’s Interactive

Systems group, working under David Evans, developed the PS (picture system)

series for the graphics and CAD/CAM markets. Early PS systems could display

complicated models of objects that could be turned and viewed from all

angles; later versions, including the MPS (multi-picture system), allowed

simultaneous access to the system by multiple users. It was during this

time, when Evans & Sutherland had finally turned its financial corner,

that co-founder Ivan Sutherland decided to leave the company to pursue

other interests.

In 1978, Evans & Sutherland built on its success in the flight simulator

industry and made the leap from being a closely-held, private company,

going public with the assistance of Hambrect & Quist, a national investment

banking firm. At the same time, the company announced an extension in

its collaboration agreement with RSL and began seeking military contracts

to augment its already successful commercial aviation simulator business.

Its efforts in the military arena were successful,...
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Evans and Sutherland. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 12 Oct, 2010 from