today announced that it has entered what it calls a “broad strategic alliance” with 3D graphics company
Evans & Sutherland
(E&S). Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies have agreed to license technology from one another, and Nvidia has also acquired patents from E&S.
While Nvidia Corp. has focused on the consumer and workstation markets since its inception, E&S has focused instead on 3D simulation systems used for defense, aviation, engineering and other industries. Although its name may not be familiar to mainstream Mac or PC users, the company has been a pioneer in 3D display systems since its inception in 1968.
Nvidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang recognized E&S’s accomplishments in a recent statement. “Many important milestones and breakthroughs can be traced directly to technologies created at E&S over the past 30 years,” said Huang.
The agreement calls for Nvidia Corp. to license its Nvidia Shader Technology to E&S. Leveraged in Nvidia’s flagship graphics chipset, the GeForce3, Nvidia Shader Technology enables software applications to display what Nvidia calls “cinematic-quality realism” through the use of vertex and pixel shading features.
Additionally, the two companies have agreed “to a broad-cross license of technology” from one another — although the statement today didn’t flesh out what that means, exactly.
E&S president and CEO James R. Oyler said that his company has divested its workstation graphics business to focus on its core competencies — simulation and training systems. “This agreement allows our general graphics technology to be leveraged into high volume markets, while adding new capabilities including Nvidia’s programmable shader technology to E&S’s base of unique technology and patents for the simulation industry,” said Oyler.