And the Oscar Goes To...

Loren Carpenter

Loren Carpenter

Date of birth: 7 February 1947

Birthplace: Brighton, Mich.

Family: wife Rachel, one child, aged 31

Education: B.S. in mathematics, 1974;M.S. in computer science, 1976, both from the University of Washington, Seattle

Graduate project: a new rendering algorithm for a very small machine

Key technical contributions: the A-buffer hidden surface algorithm, the rules to make procedural modeling practical, the midpoint subdivision method for rendering fractals

What he wanted to do when he grew up: "Something that nobody had ever done before"

First job: greenskeeper's assistant at a golf course

First technical job: computer operator for Boeing

Present job: senior scientist at Pixar Animation Studios (known as Lucasfilm when he joined it in 1981)

Patents: Nine

Computer: Silicon Graphics Octane (office), Dell Pentium 3 (home), Sony Vaio (laptop)

Favorite Web sites:,,, http://mars.,, and http://antwrp.gsfc.

Most recent book read: Deepness in the Sky (science fiction)

Favorite restaurant: Guaymas, in Tiberon, Calif.

Favorite movies: the original Star Wars, The Day the Earth Stood Still

Biggest career surprise: "When my first fractal mountain came up on the screen"

Leisure activities: walking on a wild beach

Car: BMW 330 Coupe

License plate: QUBIT (A qubit is a quantum bit)

Organizational Memberships: ACM Siggraph

Most meaningful awards: The Oscar, the Siggraph Achievement Award