Gordon Kurtenbach Awarded Alumni of Influence



U of S Alumni of Influence Awards

The Alumni of Influence Awards are a public way for the College of Arts & Science to recognize and celebrate our very distinguished alumni. The awards signal to today's students that they are part of a vibrant and accomplished college. Computer Science alum and recipient of the 2018 Alumni of Influence Awards, Gordon Kurtenbach (BSc’84), was is a pioneer in the field of human-computer interaction and one of Canada’s leading industry-based computer science researchers.

Kurtenbach obtained his BSc from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984, followed by his MSc and PhD in computer science at the University of Toronto. As a PhD student, he designed a new gesture-based technique for interacting with computers that became hugely influential. These “marking menus” helped shape modern software and are a forerunner to the gestural interfaces of today’s tablets and smartphones. Following his PhD, Kurtenbach worked in the research labs of Apple’s Advanced Technology Group, Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Centre and Alias, where he led research into advanced technologies for software products such as Maya, AliasStudio, SketchBook and PortfolioWall.

Today, Kurtenbach is head of Autodesk Research, the industrial research group of Autodesk, Inc. In this role, he oversees a large range of research concerning how software is used to design, make and operate the built world. Under Kurtenbach’s leadership, Autodesk Research has grown from a small team into an elite industrial research group with a reputation for successfully translating research into commercial products. The only lab of its kind in Canada, Autodesk Research is a magnet for top computer science talent from around the world.

Kurtenbach has published numerous research papers and holds more than 50 patents in the field of human-computer interaction. In 2005, he received the UIST Lasting Impact Award for his early work on gestural interfaces. In 2011, he shared the NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation in recognition of collaboration between Autodesk and the University of Toronto.

Congratulations Gordon!

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