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Former NYIT researcher Edwin Catmull wins Turing Award

Disney-Pixar president of animation studios Edwin Catmull attends

Disney-Pixar president of animation studios Edwin Catmull attends the premiere of "Incredibles 2" June 5, 2018, in Los Angeles. Credit: Getty Images for Disney / Jesse Grant

A former NYIT researcher who helped develop the technology that animated movies like “Toy Story” and enabled a variety of special effects is a winner of this year’s Turing Award, the technology industry’s version of the Nobel Prize.

Edwin Catmull, a computer graphics pioneer who worked at New York Institute of Technology’s Computer Graphics Lab before becoming president of Pixar, shared the $1 million prize with fellow Pixar pioneer Patrick Hanrahan for their contributions to 3-D computer graphics used in movies and video games.

Catmull, who turns 75 on March 31, was hired by legendary filmmaker George Lucas to head the computer-technology division that became Pixar when Apple founder Steve Jobs bought it. Patrick Hanrahan was one of Catmull's early hires at Pixar, now part of Disney.

Hanrahan's “RenderMan” software helped produce “Toy Story” in 1995 and then a string of Pixar films including “Up,” “Monsters Inc.,” “Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E.”

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