ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Interview with Danny Hillis

By Newton Lee, Danny Hillis
Theoretical and Practical Computer Applications in Entertainment, [Vol. 4, No. 3]

DOI: 10.1145/1146816.1146821

Dr. Danny Hillis is cofounder, chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Applied Minds. A former vice president of research and development at The Walt Disney Company and the first Disney Fellow, Danny has designed some of the fastest computers in the world and pioneered the concept of parallel computers, now the basis for most supercomputers, as well as the RAID disk array technology used to store large databases. Danny is also the designer of a 10,000-year mechanical clock and the author of "The Pattern On The Stone: The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work." In the video interview, you will hear Danny's answers to the following questions:1. The Cray-1 supercomputer was used to create the visual effects in the 1982 movie "Tron," but it was very expensive. How do you see the future use of supercomputers in moviemaking?2. When you were at Disney, you invented a full sized walking robot dinosaur. What was the creative process behind it?3. You created a computer composed of 10,000 Tinker Toys that could play tic-tac-toe. Do you consider it a great example of edutainment combining education and entertainment?4. How do you see the future of entertainment technology?5. You are the designer of the 10,000-year mechanical clock for the Long Now Foundation. What is the purpose of the clock and the Foundation?6. What are some the most exciting projects that you are working on at Applied Minds?

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