Celebrate Anniversaries

Computer Science Turns 25

A Child Prodigy is Growing Up

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Lunch in Beckman Institute Courtyard Lunch in Beckman Institute Courtyard.

For three intense yet sparkling days last April, the Computer Science Option celebrated its 25th anniversary. The early innovators, including option co-founders Carver Mead (BS '56, MS '57, PhD '60, Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus) and Ivan Sutherland (MS '60, formerly Jones Professor of Computer Science, now Vice President of Sun Microsystems), were joined by alumni from three decades, former and current faculty, staff, and administration, friends and spouses and children for a variety of events. A jam-packed alumni gathering on Sunday evening at the Caltech Alumni House—at times rollicking, at times poignant—preceded the more formal events on Monday and Tuesday, April 9 and 10.

Presentations by Caltech alumni, former and current faculty, and distinguished colleagues were offered over a span of two days, and were quite diverse—an historical self-portrait of the option was created by some; we also saw the latest short film from Pixar; heard about the state-of-the-art from Caltech ex-pats at Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Myricom, and Sun Microsystems; and learned of possible futures from the newest Caltech faculty. Presentations brilliantly encapsulated the field from vacuum tubes to VLSI to computer graphics, to massively parallel computing and networks, all the way to DNA, quantum computing and substrates beyond silicon. (A full description of the talks is available in a recent of Engineering & Science, Volume LXIV, Number 1, 2001.)

Sutherland, Cannon, Catmull, Kajiya Left to right: Option co-founder Ivan Sutherland (MS '60), former Chair of Engineering and Applied Science Bob Cannon, President of Pixar Animation Studios Ed Catmull, and former faculty member, now Assistant Director of Research at Microsoft, Jim Kajiya.

Interwoven among the technical talks were social get-togethers, poster sessions, and lab tours, a panel discussion on "Entrepreneurship and Computer Science," moderated by Caltech Trustee and Board Chairman Ben Rosen (BS '54), as well as a banquet, with the inimitable Carver Mead providing the keynote address.

We hope you were there; if not, check out the website for more details and a photo gallery of highlights at http://www.eas.caltech.edu/cs25.