Contributed immensely to 3D graphics architecture and definition of OpenGL.
After an amazing career spanning the first days of SGI through today at Google (with a Ph.D. from Stanford along the way), Kurt Akeley will be retiring this week.
Kurt is one of those guys who was there when things started, lots of things in his case. He’s also one of those go-to guys, at least he was for me. I’ve seen him patiently and (to my amazement) politely listen to a stupid question, give that award-winning smile of his, and say, “Well….”
Always accessible, always the smartest person in the room, but never saying so, and always a step or two ahead of us.
One of my fondest memories is a discussion we had in a bar lounge in Japan during the early 2000s, arguing with Neil Trevett of Khronos about the differences between a shader and GP processor, when Kurt and I looked at each other and one of us said —you do realize we’re agreeing with each other.
Fact is, I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with him, but I have tweaked him a few times.
I just finished a book on the history of the GPU, and Kurt is prominently featured in it. Without his GL and its subsequent manifestations, we wouldn’t have a GPU.
I hope I’ll find him lurking in the hallways of SIGGRAPH and wish him a proper and in-person bon voyage and THANK YOU.