Doctoral candidate Jacob Gaboury is the recent recipient of two research fellowships: the Life Member's Fellowship in Electrical History from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), as well as a Lemelson Fellowship from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
The fellowships will help fund Gaboury's doctoral research on the early evolution of computer graphics during the period when the nascent field of Computer Science shifted from conceiving of the computer as a machine designed for linear computation to one adept at simulating objects and interactive movement. Gaboury will spend a month this summer in Washington D.C. taking advantage of the city's vast archival resources, including those housed at the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum.
Funding for much of the initial work in computer graphics came from government seed grants for purposes of developing military and defense technologies, and early advances in computer graphics would generate interactive flight simulators for military pilots and NASA launches. The series of innovations that interests Gaboury took place over the course of a two decades beginning in the mid-1960s, spurred on by a team of pioneering researchers at the University of Utah's ARPA-funded Center for Excellence in Graphical Research.
"During the period from 1965-1979 almost all fundamental principals of computer graphics would be conceived and developed by Utah faculty and graduate students, including raster graphics, frame buffers, graphical databases, hidden surface removal, texture mapping, object shading, and more," explains Gaboury.
The Center served as an incubator for future industry leaders in the field of computing. Graduates would go on to found Pixar, Adobe, Silicon Graphics, Atari, Netscape, and WordPerfect, among other companies.