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Interview: ATI's Chris Bentley
November 2, 2001 | Lucian Fong
Pages:123

If you've never heard of Chris Bentley, then you'll probably be surprised to know that he's one of the most well known and respected figures in the Macintosh gaming community. For the past few years, Bentley has been working on the drivers that run ATI's products that are featured on everything from Powerbooks to iMacs.

We recently spoke with the elusive Chris Bentley about working at ATI.


IMG: What is your position at ATI and what do your daily duties involved?

Bentley: I'm the "Project Team Lead" of ATI's Mac 3D driver group. My days are usually spend in fixing bugs, coordinating with the other guys on the ATI Mac team, talking with Mac game developers, talking with Apple engineers, working with Apple's QA team to track down bugs listed in Apple's database, running performance tests on our drivers, sending driver drops to ATI's and Apple's QA teams for testing, reading the Mac gaming mailing lists, checking out insidemacgames and xlr8yourmac, and (did I mention?) fixing bugs.

IMG: Where did you attend college and what degree did you graduate with?

Bentley:

Harvard University - studied philosophy and literature
Tufts University - BA in Early Childhood Education
Harvard Extension - Certificate of Applied Science in Computer Science
Worcester Polytechnic - MS in Computer Science

IMG: When did you first get interested in programming?

Bentley: I really did not touch a computer until I was about 25. About that time I saw some 3D computer graphics at an Animation Film Festival and got curious about how those movies had been made. Also around the same time I started reading the Mathematical Recreations column at the back of Scientific American. For a while this column was written by A. K. Dewdney, and was filled with basic algorithms for generating Mandelbrot sets, Serpinski gaskets, fractal terrains and plants, as well as cellular automata, iterated function series, and simple physics simulations. Converting these psuedocode algorithms to Pascal and then C was how I learned to program.

IMG: What was your first job as a programmer and what other opportunities did that lead do?

Bentley: My first programming job was writing Unix source code control and database access code, using C and shell scripts. Although this was not graphics related, the company I worked for, Stardent Inc, was building refrigerator sized graphics supercomputers. Eventually I got involved writing documentation for their graphics visualization software, AVS (Advanced Visual System), and this did eventually lead to all my later work in graphics.



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