[SIGCIS-Members] Origin of "vector" in vector graphics

Larry Masinter LMM at acm.org
Sat Feb 20 15:48:10 PST 2021

I remember at the Stanford AI Lab (SAIL/DC Power Lab) around 1971 


there were two kinds of displays one could use for interacting with the system:  There were III terminals in a main room (Mordor?) that were vector displays. There were more bitmapped displays (green on black) which were “paged”. There was an editor called “TVEDIT”. The vector displays were terrible for text, but they could change the display fast enough to animate (wire frames).  

LARRY.PLT[1,LMM] - www.SailDart.org <https://www.saildart.org/LARRY.PLT%5b1,LMM%5d> 

The Xerox Alto & D-machines spent a lot of time updating the display from the mapped raster (We’d run benchmarks with the display off).  The key idea invented for Smalltalk but used by Mesa and Interlisp was called “bitblt” used for drawing everything (characters, mainly).  An example of user code to do graphic: medley/HANOI at master · Interlisp/medley (github.com) <https://github.com/Interlisp/medley/blob/master/lispusers/HANOI> 


Some SAIL images for vector display


M5.PLT[1,LMM] - www.SailDart.org <http://M5.PLT[1,LMM]%20-%20www.SailDart.org> 

LARRY.PLT[1,LMM] - www.SailDart.org <https://www.saildart.org/LARRY.PLT%5b1,LMM%5d>  LMM.PLT[1,LMM] - www.SailDart.org <https://www.saildart.org/LMM.PLT%5b1,LMM%5d> 





 <https://LarryMasinter.net> https://LarryMasinter.net  <https://interlisp.org> https://interlisp.org

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