Graphical Kernel System

The Graphical Kernel System (GKS) was the first ISO standard for low-level computer graphics, introduced in 1977. A draft international standard was circulated for review in September, 1983.[1][2][3] Final ratification of the standard was achieved in 1985.[4][5]

GKS provides a set of drawing features for two-dimensional vector graphics suitable for charting and similar duties. The calls are designed to be portable across different programming languages, graphics devices and hardware, so that applications written to use GKS will be readily portable to many platforms and devices.

GKS was fairly common on computer workstations in the 1980s and early 1990s.[6] GKS formed the basis of Digital Research's GSX and GEM products; the latter was common on the Atari ST and was occasionally seen on PCs particularly in conjunction with Ventura Publisher. It was little used outside these markets and is essentially obsolete today except insofar as it is the underlying API defining the Computer Graphics Metafile. A descendant of GKS was PHIGS.

A main developer and promoter of the GKS was José Luis Encarnação, formerly director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics (IGD) in Darmstadt, Germany.

GKS has been standardized in the following documents:[7]

  • ANSI standard ANSI X3.124 of 1985.
  • ISO 7942:1985 standard, revised as ISO 7942:1985/Amd 1:1991 and ISO/IEC 7942-1:1994, as well as ISO/IEC 7942-2:1997, ISO/IEC 7942-3:1999 and ISO/IEC 7942-4:1998
  • The language bindings are ISO standard ISO 8651.
  • GKS-3D (Graphical Kernel System for Three Dimensions) functional definition is ISO standard ISO 8805, and the corresponding C bindings are ISO 8806.

The functionality of GKS is wrapped up as a data model standard in the STEP standard, section ISO 10303-46.

See also


  1. ^ "Europe calls the tune on computer graphics". New Scientist. April 21, 1983. p. 152. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  2. ^ Dave Straayer (July 25, 1983). "Headway Being Made on Graphics Standards". Computerworld. p. 7. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  3. ^ "Ansi Seeking Comment On Standard for Graphics". Computerworld. September 12, 1983. p. 64. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  4. ^ "ISO 7942:1985". Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "Ansi standards draw attention of graphics industry". Computerworld. March 25, 1985. p. 36. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  6. ^ "HP library implements GKS". Computerworld. March 31, 1986. p. 73. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Catalogue search results on and
  • Hopgood, F. R. A. (1983). Introduction to the Graphical Kernel System (GKS). London: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-355570-1.

External links

Ada (programming language)

Ada is a structured, statically typed, imperative, and object-oriented high-level computer programming language, extended from Pascal and other languages. It has built-in language support for design-by-contract, extremely strong typing, explicit concurrency, tasks, synchronous message passing, protected objects, and non-determinism. Ada improves code safety and maintainability by using the compiler to find errors in favor of runtime errors. Ada is an international standard; the current version (known as Ada 2012) is defined by ISO/IEC 8652:2012.Ada was originally designed by a team led by French computer scientist Jean Ichbiah of CII Honeywell Bull under contract to the United States Department of Defense (DoD) from 1977 to 1983 to supersede over 450 programming languages used by the DoD at that time. Ada was named after Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), who has been credited as the first computer programmer.

Computer Graphics Metafile

Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) is a free and open international standard file format for 2D vector graphics, raster graphics, and text, and is defined by ISO/IEC 8632.


Fortran (; formerly FORTRAN, derived from Formula Translation) is a general-purpose, compiled imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing.

Originally developed by IBM in the 1950s for scientific and engineering applications, FORTRAN came to dominate this area of programming early on and has been in continuous use for over half a century in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, computational physics, crystallography and computational chemistry. It is a popular language for high-performance computing and is used for programs that benchmark and rank the world's fastest supercomputers.Fortran encompasses a lineage of versions, each of which evolved to add extensions to the language while usually retaining compatibility with prior versions. Successive versions have added support for structured programming

and processing of character-based data (FORTRAN 77), array programming, modular programming and generic programming (Fortran 90), high performance Fortran (Fortran 95), object-oriented programming (Fortran 2003) and concurrent programming (Fortran 2008).

Fortran's design was the basis for many other programming languages. Among the better known is BASIC, which is based on FORTRAN II with a number of syntax cleanups, notably better logical structures, and other changes to more easily work in an interactive environment.


GKS may refer to:

GK Software, a German enterprise software developer

Goskomstat, in the Soviet Union; now the Russian Federal State Statistics Service

Gottfried Keller-Stiftung, a foundation and Cultural Heritage in Switzerland

Graphical Kernel System, a computer graphics standard

Stadion GKS, a multi-purpose stadium in Bełchatów, Poland

Den gamle kongelige samling (The Old Royal Collection) in the Royal Library, Denmark

General Graphics Interface

General Graphics Interface (GGI) is a project that aims to develop a reliable, stable and fast computer graphics system that works everywhere. The intent is to allow for any program using GGI to run on any computing platform supported by it, requiring at most a recompilation. GGI is free and open-source software, subject to the requirements of the MIT License.


ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 24 Computer graphics, image processing and environmental data representation is a standardization subcommittee of the joint subcommittee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which develops and facilitates standards within the field of computer graphics, image processing, and environmental data representation. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 24 is the British Standards Institute (BSI) located in the United Kingdom.

José Luis Encarnação

José Luis Moreira da Encarnação is a Portuguese Computer Scientist, a Professor Emeritus in Germany and a senior technology and innovation advisor to governments, multinational companies, research institutions and organizations, and foundations. He is involved in the development of research agendas and innovation strategies for socio-economic development with a focus on emerging economies. He is also a member of the Topical Network Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and ICT-related activities of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) and the German Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW). He is an elected member of the ACM SIGGRAPH Academy (USA).

List of International Organization for Standardization standards, 5000-7999

This is a list of published International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards and other deliverables. For a complete and up-to-date list of all the ISO standards, see the ISO catalogue.The standards are protected by copyright and most of them must be purchased. However, about 300 of the standards produced by ISO and IEC's Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1) have been made freely and publicly available.

List of International Organization for Standardization standards, 8000-8999

This is a list of published International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards and other deliverables. For a complete and up-to-date list of all the ISO standards, see the ISO catalogue.The standards are protected by copyright and most of them must be purchased. However, about 300 of the standards produced by ISO and IEC's Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1) have been made freely and publicly available.


NAPLPS (North American Presentation Level Protocol Syntax) is a graphics language for use originally with videotex and teletext services. NAPLPS was developed from the Telidon system developed in Canada, with a small number of additions from AT&T Corporation. The basics of NAPLPS were later used as the basis for several other microcomputer-based graphics systems.


PHIGS (Programmer's Hierarchical Interactive Graphics Standard) is an application programming interface (API) standard for rendering 3D computer graphics, considered to be the 3D graphics standard for the 1980s through the early 1990s. Subsequently, a combination of features and power led to the rise of OpenGL, which became the most popular professional 3D API of the mid to late 1990s.

Large vendors typically offered versions of PHIGS for their platforms, including DEC PHIGS, IBM's graPHIGS and Sun's SunPHIGS. It could also used within the X Window System, supported via PEX. PEX consisted of an extension to X, adding commands that would be forwarded from the X server to the PEX system for rendering. Workstations were placed in windows typically, but could also be forwarded to take over the whole screen, or to various printer-output devices.

PHIGS was designed in the 1980s, inheriting many of its ideas from the Graphical Kernel System (GKS) of the late 1970s, and became a standard by 1989: ANSI (ANSI X3.144-1988), FIPS (FIPS 153) and then ISO (ISO/IEC 9592 and ISO/IEC 9593). Due to its early gestation, the standard supports only the most basic 3D graphics, including basic geometry and meshes, and only the basic Gouraud, "Dot", and Phong shading for rendering scenes. Although PHIGS ultimately expanded to contain advanced functions (including the more accurate Phong lighting model and Data Mapping), other features considered standard by the mid-1990s were not supported (notably texture mapping), nor were many machines of the era physically capable of optimizing it to perform in real time.

Pascal (programming language)

Pascal is an imperative and procedural programming language, which Niklaus Wirth designed in 1968–69 and published in 1970, as a small, efficient language intended to encourage good programming practices using structured programming and data structuring. It is named in honor of the French mathematician, philosopher and physicist Blaise Pascal.

Pascal was developed on the pattern of the ALGOL 60 language. Wirth had already developed several improvements to this language as part of the ALGOL X proposals, but these were not accepted and Pascal was developed separately and released in 1970. A derivative known as Object Pascal designed for object-oriented programming was developed in 1985; this was used by Apple Computer and Borland in the late 1980s and later developed into Delphi on the Microsoft Windows platform. Extensions to the Pascal concepts led to the languages Modula-2 and Oberon.

Professional Graphics Controller

Professional Graphics Controller (PGC, often called Professional Graphics Adapter and sometimes Professional Graphics Array) is a graphics card manufactured by IBM for PCs. It consists of three interconnected PCBs, and contains its own processor and memory. The PGC was, at the time of its release, the most advanced graphics card for the IBM XT and aimed for tasks such as CAD.Introduced in 1984, the Professional Graphics Controller offered a maximum resolution of 640×480 with 256 colors at a refresh rate of 60 Hertz—a higher resolution and color depth than CGA and EGA supported. This mode is not BIOS-supported. It was intended for the computer-aided design market and included 320 kB of display RAM and an on-board Intel 8088 microprocessor. The 8088 was placed directly on the card to permit rapid updates of video memory. Other cards forced the PC's CPU to write to video memory through a slower ISA bus. While never widespread in consumer-class personal computers, its US $4,290 list price compared favorably to US$50,000 dedicated CAD workstations of the time (even when the $4,995 price of a PC XT model 87was included). It was discontinued in 1987 with the arrival of VGA and 8514.

Technische Universität Darmstadt

The Technische Universität Darmstadt (unofficially Technical University of Darmstadt or Darmstadt University of Technology), commonly referred to as TU Darmstadt, is a research university in the city of Darmstadt, Germany. It was founded in 1877 and received the right to award doctorates in 1899. In 1882 it was the first university in the world to set up a chair in electrical engineering, and founded the first faculty for it in 1883. Nobel laureate Albert Einstein once recommended this university.[1] TU Darmstadt's alumni include 2 Nobel laureates and 2 Leibniz Prize winners.[2]

TU Darmstadt is a member of TU9, a network of the most notable German Technische Universitäten (universities of technology).


A viewport is a polygon viewing region in computer graphics.

In computer graphics theory, there are two region-like notions of relevance when rendering some objects to an image. In textbook terminology, the world coordinate window is the area of interest (meaning what the user wants to visualize) in some application-specific coordinates, e.g. miles, centimeters etc.

The word window as used here should not be confused with the GUI window, i.e. the notion used in window managers. Rather it is an analogy with how a window limits what one can see outside a room.In contrast, the viewport is an area (typically rectangular) expressed in rendering-device-specific coordinates, e.g. pixels for screen coordinates, in which the objects of interest are going to be rendered. Clipping to the world-coordinates window is usually applied to the objects before they are passed through the window-to-viewport transformation. For a 2D object, the latter transformation is simply a combination of translation and scaling, the latter not necessarily uniform. An analogy of this transformation process based on traditional photography notions is to equate the world-clipping window with the camera settings and the variously sized prints that can be obtained from the resulting film image as possible viewports.Because the physical-device-based coordinates may not be portable from one device to another, a software abstraction layer known as normalized device coordinates is typically introduced for expressing viewports; it appears for example in the Graphical Kernel System (GKS) and later systems inspired from it.In 3D computer graphics it refers to the 2D rectangle used to project the 3D scene to the position of a virtual camera. A viewport is a region of the screen used to display a portion of the total image to be shown.In virtual desktops, the viewport is the visible portion of a 2D area which is larger than the visualization device.

In web browsers, the viewport is the visible portion of the entire document. If the document is larger than the viewport, the user can shift the viewport around by scrolling.

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