Source: ACM SIGGRAPH Citation
This year ACM SIGGRAPH has selected Professor Donald P. Greenberg to receive the Steven A. Coons Award for Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics. Professor Greenberg is both a pioneer of original ideas and a teacher of these ideas to numerous students, including this year’s recipient of the Computer Graphics Achievement Award.
Greenberg began his professional life in the field of architecture. He then migrated to structural engineering for which he was educated at Cornell University and Columbia University, receiving his PhD in 1968. From 1960 to 1965 he served as a consulting engineer with Severud Associates, and was involved with the design of numerous outstanding building projects including the St. Louis Arch, New York State Theater of the Dance at Lincoln Center and Madison Square Garden. He, as is the case with many computer graphics workers, brought his previous experience to bear upon the exciting prospect of applying computers to architecture and engineering. Greenberg became involved in computer graphics in the mid-1960’s. When equipment was not available at the university he “took his students” to the Visual Simulation Laboratory at the General Electric Company in Syracuse, New York. There he produced a sophisticated computer graphics movie, “Cornell in Perspective,” as early as 1971.
During the last fifteen years, his research efforts have concentrated on establishing the scientific principles necessary for realistic image synthesis. Many publications on color science, light reflection models, image rendering techniques and global illumination algorithms, including both ray-tracing and radiosity, have emanated from the Cornell laboratory. More than one hundred articles have been published in these areas, including three in this year’s SIGGRAPH conference proceedings.
Perhaps Greenberg’s most important contribution has been the education of graduate students in computer graphics and computer-aided design. More than seventy students have received graduate degrees from the Program of Computer Graphics and he has advised more than forty students in computer graphics. Many of these graduates are now playing significant roles in teaching, research and computer graphics software development.
His energies are not just devoted to research but also to innovation within the educational environment and to service to the profession. As the Jacob Gould Shurman Professor of Computer Graphics at Cornell University he teaches computer graphics courses in the Department of Computer Sciences. He also is the director of the Program of Computer Graphics and was the director of the Computer Aided Design Instructional Facility, which he established. Now he is developing the future interactive graphics environment associated with Cornell’s supercomputer facility. He serves his profession by participation on the editorial boards of Computers and Graphics, Computer-Aided Design, and Transactions on Graphics and by lecturing at other universities and various conferences including the SIGGRAPH short courses.