Pat Hanrahan

Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Computer Graphics Laboratory at Stanford University

Pat Hanrahan is the CANON Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University where he teaches computer graphics. His current research involves graphics systems and architectures, hardware design tools, programming languages, image synthesis, and visualization.  Early in his career, Pat worked at Pixar where he developed software for volume rendering and was the chief architect of the RenderMan(TM) Interface - a protocol that allows modeling programs to describe scenes to high quality rendering programs. In addition to being an early employee at PIXAR, he has founded three companies, PeakStream, BeBop, and Tableau, and has served on the technical advisory boards of NVIDIA, Exluna, Neoptica, VSee, Procedural, and SkyTree.  

Professor Hanrahan has received three Academy Awards for Science and Technology, the Spirit of America Creativity Award, the SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award, the SIGGRAPH Stephen A. Coons Award, and the IEEE Visualization Career Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  

In 2019, he received the Turing Award along with Ed Catmull.

We are entering a new era of computer architecture. Due to the end of Moore's Law and Dennard Scaling, the best way to build more efficient computers is to use domain-specific specialized architectures. Many systems companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook now have active hardware efforts. Unfortunately, building hardware is very difficult compared to software. But hardware is just software!  In this talk I will talk about how to use functional programming to describe hardware.

Thinking of hardware as software leads to better ways of building hardware. Thinking of software as hardware, leads to better way to program in general.