SIGGRAPH 1991 Computer Graphics Achievement Award: Kajiya

  • ©1991, James (Jim) T. Kajiya



    Computer Graphics Achievement Award


    The SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award is presented to Dr. James T. Kajiya for his development of the Rendering Equation. This work describes an integral equation that provides a theoretical description of surface rendering and shows how to make images by solving the equation with Monte Carlo methods.

    Kajiya began his graphics career working for Evans and Sutherland Computer Corporation. In 1973, he served as project engineer for the E&S frame buffer, the first commercially available frame buffer using dynamic random access memories. Upon leaving E&S, he began his graduate studies at the University of Utah, where he received his PhD in computer science in 1979. His thesis research, by applying Lie Group representation theory to the modeling of the human visual system as a signal processing system, explained a wide range of phenomena in monochrome brightness perception and predicted several new visual illusions and phenomena.

    Since 1979, Kajiya has been at the California Institute of Technology, first as an assistant professor, then as associate professor of computer science. He has published works on mathematical models for computer vision, high-level programming languages, computer architecture and mathematical logic for computer science.

    Kajiya’s recent work has focused on very high-quality computer graphics and is noted for its innovation and thorough mathematical approach. This work has included nonlinear antialiasing algorithms for the display of text on raster screens, invention of several new techniques for ray tracing primitives (such as swept volumes), parametric patches and fractal surfaces, the first paper on volume rendering via ray tracing, and, with Tim Kay, a hierarchical bounding box technique for accelerating ray tracing. In addition, he has made significant contributions in the

    introduction of anisotropic light reflection models for surfaces, the introduction of algebraic geometry in patch computations, a solution to the problem of rendering fuzzy surfaces, and most recently with his student John Snyder, a new technique for high level design of subtle three-dimensional shapes called generative modeling.

    SIGGRAPH is pleased to recognize Kajiya’s continuing contribution by honoring him for his special contribution to the industry – the Rendering Equation. Like much of Kajiya’s work,

    the Rendering Equation is a fundamental and seminal contribution to the field. It provides a framework for future research and a foundation upon which future algorithms can be developed.


    ACM SIGGRAPH Press Release, 1991