Eurographics Honorary Fellowship
Carlo Enrico Vandoni
The name of Carlo Vandoni is synonymous with the operation of the Eurographics Association. Think membership, think publications, think archives and there is Carlo in their midst. The minutes of the first committee meeting of the European Computer Graphics Association (sic) held in Bologna, Italy on 1 November 1979 record the presence of Carlo Vandoni. The first secretary was Francois Muller, but at the meeting held in Peterborough on 27 March 1980 it was Carlo Vandoni who gave a report on the founding of Eurographics and Vandoni along with Muller and the treasurer Christian Pellegrini were charged with the legal establishment of the Association in Geneva "as soon as possible". Eurographics was registered as the European Association for Computer Graphics later that year. Carlo became secretary of the Association in 1981 when Francois Muller resigned and has taken this key operational role virtually ever since, interrupted only whilst he was Chairman of the Association in 1987-88.
Carlo was born in Milano, Italy. He joined the Olivetti Electronics Research Laboratory in Milano in 1958, where he participated in the design and programming of the first computers designed and built in Italy. He led a team of up to 15 programmers responsible for implementing assemblers, compilers, input/output systems and operating systems. There is a paper from this period by Petrone and Vandoni in Communications of the ACM 7(12), pp. 734-5, entitled "Integer and Signed Constants in ALGOL", which explores some deficiencies in the grammar of the ALGOL language when viewed as a way of expressing meaning.
Carlo moved to Switzerland in 1965 and joined the Data Handling Division of CERN as a systems programmer. CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research was founded in 1954. Carlo was involved in the programming work leading up to the installation of a CDC 6600 mainframe at CERN - this was machine serial number 3! From 1968 to 1970 Carlo did pioneering work in graphics at CERN and was responsible for the design and implementation of GAMMA (Graphical Aided Mathematical MAchine), a single-user interactive system for mathematical applications, based on the Culler-Fried system at TRW Systems in California. The system ran on a CDC 3100 computer with a CDC 250 display - there is a picture of the latter and a special two-bank keyboard used by GAMMA in Smith's article in Computing Surveys 2(4), pp. 261-301, 1970. From there Carlo moved on to be the main designer, and responsible for the implementation, of a new system, SIGMA (System for Interactive Graphical Mathematical Applications), a home-grown system at CERN designed to cope with the needs of mathematicians and theoretical physicists in the Theory Division at CERN.
Carlo spent a sabbatical period of 4 months in 1972 as a Research Associate at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.
In the 1980s he led the graphics section at CERN, whose projects included PAW (Physics Analysis Workstation), a system designed to assist physicists in the analysis and presentation of their data.
Prior to his retirement in 2002, Carlo was Director of the prestigious CERN Schools of Computing and secretary to the Schools' Advisory Committee. He brought all his experience of organising Eurographics events to bear in this important role.
Within Eurographics Carlo has not only served as secretary and chairman of the Association but was also the organiser of Eurographics '80, '90 and 2000 and has served as programme chairman and IPC member for many events.
Every Eurographics membership card carries Carlo's signature. Since the early 1980s Carlo has taken care of the management of the Association's membership base, issuing renewal notices, and dealing with the correspondence this inevitably generates. Systems are more automated now, but in the early days of the Association, the Vandoni basement housed a membership file for each member of the Association, and distribution of the journal, Computer Graphics Forum and all other publications of the Association were handled through the Vandoni residence.
Though the current operational systems have removed much routine work, the workload of the secretary is still a major one within the Association, requiring a high degree of organisation and ability to react rapidly to events within the Association.
Outside Eurographics Carlo has a passion for trains and for calculating machines; the latter a passion that other members of the Association have been drawn into - it would not be the first time that a member received an email from Carlo saying that such-and-such a bric-a-brac shop had a very interesting calculating machine in the window when Carlo passed by and the shop was closed. Would the member mind going along to the shop, purchasing the machine, and Carlo would collect it when next passing through!
Carlo has become a very close friend of many in the Association, a person one can rely on in a crisis, and a constant source of encouragement and reassurance when most needed.
For his contributions to computer graphics, and to the founding, shaping and continuing development of the Eurographics Association, the Executive Committee bestow upon Carlo E. Vandoni on the occasion of his 70th birthday, an Honorary Fellowship of the Association.
Mr Secretary, Carlo, we wish you a very happy birthday and many more years of continuous involvement with the Association that owes you so much.