Dr. Smith, co-founder of Pixar, discusses how his work in computation theory led to researching his mother's family tree and creating a 3200-page study of his genealogical history.
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Dr. Alvy Ray Smith
Dr. Alvy Ray Smith cofounded or was present at the beginning of four centers of computer graphics excellence: Altamira, Pixar, Lucasfilm, New York Tech. He then joined Microsoft as its first Graphics Fellow, and is now president of his own company, Ars Longa.
He has received two technical Academy Awards for alpha channel concept and for digital paint systems. He invented, directed, originated, or was otherwise instrumental in the following developments: first full-color paint program, HSV color model, alpha channel and image sprites, Genesis Demo in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, first Academy-Award winning computer-generated short, "Tin Toy", first computer-generated film "Toy Story", Academy-Award winning Disney animation production system CAPS, and the Visible Human Project. He also served on the Microsoft Art Committee.
In addition, he was a star witness in a trial that successfully invalidated five patents that had been plaguing the digital imaging business. He retired in 2000 to devote time to the emerging artform of digital photography and to scholarly genealogy, to which he has contributed two books and several learned journal papers. He also writes and speaks extensively.
Dr. Smith has PhD from Stanford University and honorary doctorate from New Mexico State University. He is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering and Trustee Emeritus of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston.