The ARPANET Project

An online exhibit and digital library documenting computer science history at the University of Utah.

Computer Graphics at the University of Utah

Pioneering graphics in the twentieth century.

In 1968 the University of Utah was focused on an Earth shaking technology -- computer graphics. With an A-Team assembled, including David C. Evans and Ivan Sutherland, the University of Utah quickly became the graphics mecca of the world and revolutionized the computer graphic industry.

Kline bottle

A Kline Bottle image from the Graphical Man/Machine Communications (June 1972) 
The early graphics work at the University of Utah produced many famous images, like this Kline Bottle image. These images are so primitive that when the original Graphical Man/Machine Communications technical reports were created, photographs were taken of the images on the computer screens and then printed out and pasted in the reports. These reports can be viewed in the J. Willard Marriott Library's Special Collections, where you can see, smell and feel these historical documents with great nostalgia. Please follow the link below to access the Graphical Man/Machine Communicationsdigital library.

Computer-generated sailboats

Computer-generated sailboats 
In the June 1972 Graphical Man/Machine Communicationstechnical report it is stated,

As the system for generating halftones got more sophisticated and the object being generated got more complex, we found the single user memory was not large enough to hold all the programs data."

This statement is referring to the sailboat image below. Today, this image is extremely basic, but in 1972, this image was so complex that a new system had to be built to allow for the excess of data.

Computer Graphics photograph collection

Photographs, like the one to the left, allow us to take a step back in time and see the history of computer graphics at the University of Utah. This photo and many more can be viewed in the David C. Evans photograph collection in the J. Willard Marriott Library's Special Collections.

The cover page of John Warnock's famous article titled, A Hidden Line Algorithm for Halftone Picture Representation

School of Computing Technical Reports (Digital Library)

When researching relevant ARPANET materials on campus at the University of Utah, we discovered that almost 20 years worth of technical reports from the School of Computing were being stored in a broom closet in the Merrill Engineering Building, collecting dust and hidden from the world.

These reports, dating from the early 1960's til present, document the University of Utah's School of Computing history.

Many influential articles were produced in these reports, including articles by John Warnock, David C. Evans, Ivan Sutherland, Tom Stockham, Alan Kay, etc.

We gathered these boxes of reports and brought them to the J. Willard Marriott Library to be digitized and preserved. A digital collection was then created and is now accessible to the world.

Graphical Man/Machine Communications Technical Reports 

David C. Evans founded the University of Utah's Computer Science department with a single large grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] specifically to study graphics.

The early research history of the Computer Science Department's graphics research is documented in a series of technical reports titled Graphical Man-Machine Communications. These reports describe how the department was spending the DARPA grant money and also includes the research that was being conducted on the ARPANET.

The Graphical Man/Machine Communications Technical Reports span from 1966-1973 and can be viewed in the J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections.

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 Last Modified 6/6/23