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Bert Sutherland

AKA William Robert Sutherland

Born: 1936
Birthplace: Hastings, NE

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Engineer, Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Scientist at Sun Microsystems

Military service: US Navy

Bert Sutherland began his career at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory. After graduation he worked for the technological firm Bolt, Beranek and Newman, where he was involved with the development of Arpanet, the computing network that evolved into the Internet. He then worked as manager of one of the key labs at Xerox's axis of innovation, the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where he oversaw development of very large-scale integrated circuits (VLSI), the cornerstone of modern microcomputer technology. In planning and constructing early personal computers, he had his design team take suggestions from anthropologists, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and perhaps most groundbreaking, users of early desktop computers. Sutherland finished his career as Vice President or Research and Development at Sun Microsystems, where he was renowned for his leadership as an "engineer's engineer". At Sun, he developed guidelines for successfully managing industrial research, including a low pressure workplace and adequate funding to follow unexpected leads because, as he said, "If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be research." His brother Ivan Sutherland was the author of the original Sketchpad software.

Father: (civil engineer)
Mother: (teacher)
Brother: Ivan Sutherland (computer scientist)

    University: BS Electrical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1957)
    University: MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1963)
    University: PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1966)

    Sun Microsystems VP Research and Development (1981-2000)
    Xerox Manager, Palo Alto Research Center (1975-81)
    Bolt, Beranek and Newman Computer Scientist (1968-75)
    Legion of Merit

Author of books:
The On-Line Graphical Specification of Computer Procedures (1966)
Device-Independent Graphics (1986, with Robert F. Sproull and Michael K. Ullner)


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