At CES in 2007, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences jointly awarded NVIDIA, ATI and Microsoft an Emmy, at the 58th annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards show. The award was for, and I quote, “Pioneering Work in Near and Real-Time fully programmable Shading via Modern Graphics Processors”.

8 and a bit years after the event, I still surprise myself by remembering that the Emmy awards aren’t just for TV. The Academy has a whole bunch of other awarding committees for other disciplines, especially technology and engineering. In late 2006, after reading an article I’d written on the origin of the fast inverse square root function in Quake’s source code, NATAS invited me to join one of the Technology and Engineering committees as someone with expertise in real-time graphics.

They wanted to widen their ability to recognise innovation and excellent technical achievement in a whole bunch of areas, and with 3D acceleration the real driving force behind the PC by then, they reached out to a few folks to join them, me included. The whole process was remarkably straightforward and free of red tape or messing around. Anyone in the subcommittee could put a nomination forward and then we’d have a few phone calls to talk about it, some time to write final proposals and then a quick vote at the end. Then someone who was actually part of NATAS took the subcommittee’s decision into NATAS proper for the award to be ratified and brought into the cycle. That was it!

I was the person to nominate, justify, champion and push through the award to NVIDIA, ATI and Microsoft for that Emmy. Giving it to all three of them was easy at the time, given NVIDIA and ATI dominated the hardware side of things with some truly stand-out GPU designs in 2006, and Microsoft had just accompanied them with the release of an excellent graphics API in the form of Direct3D 10.

One of the coolest highlights of my career so far, helping recognise the 3D graphics industry in a small but reasonably prestigious way.