James H. Clark

Last updated

James H. Clark
James H. Clark.jpg
Clark in 2013
James Henry Clark

(1944-03-23) March 23, 1944 (age 78)
Plainview, Texas, United States
Alma mater University of Utah
University of New Orleans
Spouse(s)Nancy Rutter
Kristy Hinze (m. 2009)
Scientific career
Fields Computer science
Computer graphics
Institutions Silicon Graphics
Stanford University
Thesis 3-D design of free-form B-spline surfaces  (1974)
Doctoral advisor Ivan Sutherland

James Henry Clark (born March 23, 1944) is an American entrepreneur and computer scientist. He founded several notable Silicon Valley technology companies, including Silicon Graphics, Netscape, myCFO, and Healtheon. His research work in computer graphics led to the development of systems for the fast rendering of three-dimensional computer images.


In 1998, Clark was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering for the development of computer graphics and for technical leadership in the computer industry.

Early life and education

Clark was born in Plainview, Texas, on March 23, 1944. He dropped out of high school at 16 and spent four years in the Navy, where he was introduced to electronics. Clark began taking night courses at Tulane University's University College where, despite his lack of a high school diploma, he was able to earn enough credits to be admitted to the University of New Orleans.[ citation needed ] There, Clark earned his bachelor's and a master's degrees in physics, followed by a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah in 1974. [1] [2] [3] [4]



After completing his doctorate, Clark briefly worked at the New York Institute of Technology's Computer Graphics Lab. He served as an assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz (1974-1978) before moving to Stanford University as an associate professor of electrical engineering (1979-1982). Clark's research work concerned geometry pipelines, specialized software or hardware that accelerates the display of three dimensional images. The peak of his group's advancements was the Geometry Engine, an early hardware accelerator for rendering computer images based on geometric models which he developed in 1979 with his students at Stanford.

Silicon Graphics

In 1982, Clark along with several Stanford graduate students founded Silicon Graphics (SGI). [5] The earliest Silicon Graphics graphical workstations were mainly terminals, but they were soon followed by stand-alone graphical Unix workstations with very fast graphics rendering hardware. In the mid-1980s, Silicon Graphics began to use the MIPS CPU as the foundation of their newest workstations, replacing the Motorola 68000.

By 1991, Silicon Graphics had become the world leader in the production of Hollywood movie visual effects and 3-D imaging. Silicon Graphics focused on the high-end market where they could charge a premium for their special hardware and graphics software. [6]

Clark had differences of opinion with Silicon Graphics management regarding the future direction of the company, and departed in late January 1994. [7]


In February 1994, Clark sought out Marc Andreessen who had led the development of Mosaic, the first widely distributed and easy-to-use software for browsing the World Wide Web, while employed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). [8] Clark and Andreessen founded Netscape, and developed the Netscape Navigator web browser. The founding of Netscape and its IPO in August 1995 launched the Internet boom on Wall Street during the mid-to-late 1990s. Clark's initial investment in Netscape was $4 million in 1994; he exited with $1.2 billion when Netscape was acquired by AOL in 1999. [9]


In 1995, Clark became interested in streamlining the paperwork associated with the health-care industry. The resulting start-up, Healtheon, was founded in early 1996 with backing from Kleiner Perkins and New Enterprise Associates. [10] Although Clark's original idea of eliminating the paperwork and bureaucracy associated with medical care was ambitious, it did lead to successes in administrative streamlining of medical records technology. However, an Atlanta, Georgia startup company, WebMD originally focused on medical content was also making similar in-roads. Knowing WebMD had financial backing from Microsoft, Clark decided to merge Healtheon with the original WebMD to form the WebMD Corporation (NASDAQ: WBMD). WebMD is a leader in health information on the Internet. [11]

Other affiliations

In 1999, Clark launched myCFO, a company formed to help wealthy Silicon Valley individuals manage their fortunes. In late 2002, while Clark served on the board of directors, most of myCFO's operations were sold to Harris Bank and now operate as Harris myCFO.

Clark was chairman and financial backer of network-security startup Neoteris, founded in 2000, which was acquired by NetScreen in 2003 and subsequently by Juniper Networks.

Clark was a founding director and investor in the biotechnology company DNA Sciences, founded in 1998 to unravel the genetics of common disease using volunteers recruited from the Internet launched August 1, 2000 (see The New York Times). In 2003, the company was acquired by Genaissance Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Clark was the subject of the 1999 bestseller The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story by U.S. author Michael Lewis.

Clark was a notable investor in Kibu.com, an Internet website for teens, which received approximately $22 million in funding. [12] The website shut down in 2000, returning its remaining capital to investors.

Clark coproduced the 2009 movie The Cove . His funding made possible the purchase and covert installation of some high-tech camera and sound-recording equipment required to capture the film's climactic dolphin slaughter.[ citation needed ] The film addresses the problem of whale and dolphin killing in Taiji, Wakayama, Japan.

Clark sits on the board and is one of the primary investors in the consumer facing mobile technology company Ibotta. [13]

In 2017, Clark announced the launch of CommandScape, a cyber secure building management and automation platform. [14]


Clark received the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award in 1984. In 1996, he received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. [15] He was a recipient of the 1997 Kilby International Awards, which honored him for his computer graphics vision and for enabling networked information exchange. [16]

In 1988, Clark was an Award Recipient of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Northern California Region. [17]

Clark was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science (ScD) from the University of East Anglia in 1998.[ citation needed ]

Personal life

Clark has been married four times and has four children. In 2000, his daughter Kathy married Chad Hurley, a co-founder of YouTube, [18] they were divorced in 2014. [19] The divorce from his third wife of 15 years, Nancy Rutter, a Forbes journalist, is reported to have cost him $125 million in cash and assets in the settlement. Soon afterwards he began dating Australian model Kristy Hinze, 36 years his junior. Hinze became his fourth wife when they married in the British Virgin Islands on March 22, 2009. [20] She gave birth to a daughter, Dylan Vivienne in September 2011, and later, Harper Hazelle, in August 2013.

In 2022 he made the largest residential real estate sale in Florida history, selling a 22-acre property in Manalapan, Florida to Larry Ellison for approximately $175 million. Clark had previously acquired the property from the Ziff publishing family for $94 million. [21]


Clark is an enthusiastic yachtsman but cannot sail in rough ocean races such as the Sydney-Hobart due to an arthritic condition in his ankles [22] and prefers one-day regattas on the smoother waters of the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and off Newport, Rhode Island. In 2012, however, he commented that "after 28 years of owning boats, I'm over it." [23] [24]

He is the past owner of two important sailing yachts:

He remains the current owner of two other large sailing yachts:


Clark is a passionate pilot who enjoys flying helicopters, gliders (built in Germany) and acrobatic aircraft (extra 300). His approach to learning to fly a helicopter was very much like trial and error as he explored how this aircraft works. [34]


Clark has contributed to Stanford University, where he was an associate electrical engineering professor. [35] In 1999, he pledged $150 million toward construction of the James H. Clark Center for Biomedical Engineering and related programs for interdisciplinary biomedical research. [36] At the time, it was the largest-ever contribution to Stanford, other than the university's founding grant. [37] Construction started in 2001 and was completed in the summer of 2003, as part of Stanford's Bio-X program. [38] In September 2001, Clark rescinded $60 million of his initial pledge, citing anger over President Bush's restrictions on stem cell research. [39] In a New York Times opinion piece, Clark said federal funding is essential for research in the United States, and he was not interested in funding research that could be suppressed for political reasons. [40] President Barack Obama lifted the restrictions in question in 2009. [41] In 2013, Clark pledged an additional $60 million to Stanford for interdisciplinary research in the life sciences, technology, and engineering. [42] His commitment was finally completely fulfilled in 2020. [43] Clark has donated an additional $10 million to fund fellowships at the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics. [44]

In 2004, Clark and David Filo of Yahoo! each donated $30 million to Tulane University's School of Engineering for merit-based scholarships to provide education to deserving students regardless of financial situation in the discipline of engineering. [45]

Clark is a board member for the national council of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and contributes towards the organization. [46] The Perlman Music Program has recognized Clark for his continued philanthropic efforts towards their organization and their endowment fund. [47]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marc Andreessen</span> American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer

Marc Lowell Andreessen is an American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer. He is the co-author of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser; co-founder of Netscape; and co-founder and general partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He co-founded and later sold the software company Opsware to Hewlett-Packard. Andreessen is also a co-founder of Ning, a company that provides a platform for social networking websites. He sits on the board of directors of Meta Platforms. Andreessen was one of six inductees in the World Wide Web Hall of Fame announced at the First International Conference on the World-Wide Web in 1994.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John L. Hennessy</span> American computer scientist

John Leroy Hennessy is an American computer scientist, academician and businessman who serves as Chairman of Alphabet Inc. Hennessy is one of the founders of MIPS Computer Systems Inc. as well as Atheros and served as the tenth President of Stanford University. Hennessy announced that he would step down in the summer of 2016. He was succeeded as President by Marc Tessier-Lavigne. Marc Andreessen called him "the godfather of Silicon Valley."

The Computer Graphics Lab was a computer lab located at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in the late 1970s and 1980s, founded by Dr. Alexander Schure. It was originally located at the "pink building" on the NYIT campus.

Bui Tuong Phong was a Vietnamese-born computer graphics researcher and pioneer. He invented the widely used Phong shading algorithm and Phong reflection model.

David Ross Cheriton is a Canadian computer scientist, mathematician, billionaire businessman, philanthropist, and venture capitalist. He is a computer science professor at Stanford University, where he founded and leads the Distributed Systems Group.

Kurt Akeley is an American computer graphics engineer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pat Hanrahan</span> American computer graphics researcher

Patrick M. Hanrahan is an American computer graphics researcher, the Canon USA Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Computer Graphics Laboratory at Stanford University. His research focuses on rendering algorithms, graphics processing units, as well as scientific illustration and visualization. He has received numerous awards, including the 2019 Turing Award.

<i>Athena</i> (yacht)

Athena is a clipper-bowed three-masted gaff-rigged schooner built by Royal Huisman in 2004 for Internet entrepreneur James H. Clark. Clark purchased a 47.4 meter sloop, Hyperion, from Royal Huisman in 1998. As Hyperion was nearing completion, Clark began to consider the possibilities of a larger yacht, which could include a theater, library, more guest space and a more capable galley, taking inspiration from the 1920s Krupp built motor yacht "Talitha".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kristy Hinze</span> Australian model

Kristy Hinze is an Australian model, actress and television host. Hinze has appeared in Sports Illustrated as well as the Victoria's Secret catalogue.

Hyperion is the name of a 155.5-foot (47.4 m) sailing yacht built by the Royal Huisman in the Netherlands in 1998 and designed by German Frers. At the time of her launch, she was the largest sloop ever built, and had the tallest mast. The 194-foot (59 m) carbon-fiber mast clears the deck of the Golden Gate Bridge by only 30 feet (9.1 m).

David James Brown is an American computer scientist. He was one of a small group that helped to develop the system at Stanford University that later resulted in Sun Microsystems, and later was a co-founder of Silicon Graphics in 1982.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ken Read (sailor)</span> American yachtsman (born 1961)

Kenneth Read is an American yachtsman who is considered one of the world’s most accomplished and celebrated sailors. He was named United States Rolex Yachtsman of the Year twice, and has won more than 40 world, North American, and national championships in a variety of classes, with nine of those being World Championships titles in the J/24, Etchells 22 and yacht classes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Huisman</span> Dutch shipyard that builds and repairs sailing yachts

Royal Huisman is a Dutch shipbuilding company that specializes in the newbuild construction and refit, rebuild and renewal of sailing and motor yachts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">University of Utah College of Engineering</span>

The College of Engineering at the University of Utah is an academic college of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. The college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and computer science.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alexander Schure</span>

Alexander Schure was an American academic and entrepreneur. Schure founded the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in 1955. He also served as the Chancellor of Nova Southeastern University (NSU) from 1970 until 1985.

Charles Stanley "Herb" Kuta is an American electronics engineer and software engineer who was a co-founder of Silicon Graphics, a major graphics workstation manufacturer.

Ed McCracken was CEO of Silicon Graphics (SGI) from 1984 to 1997. Under his leadership, SGI grew from annual revenues of $5.4 million to $3.7 billion. Prior to leading Silicon Graphics, he spent 16 years as an executive with Hewlett-Packard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julie Hanna</span>

Julie Hanna is an Egyptian-born technologist, entrepreneur, investor and board director. She serves as Executive Chair of the Board of Kiva., peer-peer lending and crowdfunding pioneer. She is Special Advisor to X, Alphabet's Moonshot Factory and Venture Partner at Obvious Ventures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">University of Utah School of Computing</span> School in University of Utah

The School of Computing is a school within the College of Engineering at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This is the history of Stanford University.


  1. "James Clark - Computer Programmer - Biography". March 31, 2019. Archived from the original on March 31, 2019. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  2. "James H. Clark". engineering.stanford.edu. May 3, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  3. "James Clark". Forbes. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  4. "Netscape co-founder, Saints hero, Grammy winner, healthcare advocate to be honored at Tulane commencement". Tulane News. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  5. Bowen, Jonathan (2001). "Silicon Graphics, Inc.". In Rojas, Raúl (ed.). Encyclopedia of Computers and Computer History. New York: Routledge. pp.  709–710. ISBN   978-1579582357.
  6. Rowe, Robin (September 2001). "Linux Invades Hollywood". CGW. Computer Graphics World. 24 (9). Retrieved December 17, 2017. SGI servers and workstations dominated the movie industry because they were good at two things: crunching numbers (for rendering animation), and displaying high-resolution graphics images quickly on the screen.
  7. "Silicon Graphics Announces Departure of Founder and Chairman Jim Clark". Archived from the original on September 27, 2009.
  8. Netscape Communications Corp.. Netscape, accessed December 30, 2010.
  9. Clark, James (2008). Download: The True Story of the Internet "Browser Wars" (Documentary). The Discovery Channel.
  10. Swartz, Jon (June 18, 1996). "Another Startup by Jim Clark / New online venture focuses on health care". San Francisco Chronicle .
  11. "WEBMD OR THE REAL MD?". www.insightec.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  12. Flynn, Laurie J. (October 3, 2000). "Girls site closing". New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  13. "With $20 million round, Ibotta will double employee base". Built In Colorado. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  14. "Netscape's Jim Clark launches CommandScape, a building management system for commercial and premium properties". VentureBeat. August 22, 2017. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  15. "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  16. "The 1997 Kilby Laureates". The Kilby International Awards . Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  17. "Hall of Fame - EY Entrepreneur Of The Year". eoyhof.ey.com. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  18. Cloud, John. "The YouTube Gurus." Time, December 16, 2006.
  19. "KATHY HURLEY AND CHAD HURLEY". UniCourt. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  20. Stefanie Cohen (March 21, 2009). "Jim Clark to wed Kristy Hinze". New York Post .
  21. "Billionaire Clark expected to sell estate near Palm Beach for about $175 million: Report".
  22. "She says, he says: couple split overs Sydney-Hobart replay". The Australian . December 30, 2015.
  23. Mac, Ryan. "Billionaire Jim Clark Seeks More Than $100 Million For Two Superyachts". Forbes. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  24. "Royal Huisman sailing superyacht Hyperion for sale | Boat International". www.boatinternational.com. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  25. "Built to win: On board sailing yacht Comanche with Jim Clark". Boat International.
  26. "Comanche chops hours from Newport Bermuda line honours record". June 19, 2016.
  27. "Comanche finds new owner Down Under". Scuttlebutt Sailing News. December 14, 2017.
  28. "Athena at Burgess". www.burgessyachts.com. March 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  29. "Burgess Athena sales". www.burgessyachts.com. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  30. "SuperYacht of the week: S/Y Hanuman, recreation of Endeavour II". SuperYachtTimes.com. March 13, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  31. "Hanuman Yacht". SuperYachtTimes.com. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  32. Mac, Ryan (May 15, 2012). "Billionaire Jim Clark Seeks More Than $100 Million For Two Superyachts". Forbes . Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  33. "Hanuman – For Sale". www.jclassyachts.com. J Class Association. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  34. Lewis, Michael (2016). [hodder.co.uk The New New Thing] (9 ed.). Hodder. pp. 17–37. ISBN   978-0-340-76699-6 . Retrieved January 21, 2021.{{cite book}}: Check |url= value (help)
  35. "Encyclopedia of the Great Plains | CLARK, JIM (b. 1944)". plainshumanities.unl.edu. University of Nebraska at Lincoln. August 1, 2003. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  36. Bake r, Mitzi (October 29, 2003). "Clark Center, 'nucleus for a range of new research' opens". news.stanford.edu. Stanford Report. Retrieved December 17, 2017. The building's other major donor, previously anonymous, was The Atlantic Philanthropies, which contributed $60 million.
  37. "Entrepreneur Jim Clark to donate $150 million to Stanford". news.stanford.edu. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  38. "Clark Center | Welcome to Bio-X". biox.stanford.edu. December 2, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  39. Charles Ornstein.Donor Stops Big Payment to Stanford. LA Times, accessed December 29, 2010.
  40. Clark, Jim (August 31, 2001). "Opinion | Squandering Our Technological Future". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  41. Conger, Krista (March 11, 2009). "Stem cell policy may aid state research efforts". Stanford University. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  42. Stanford, © Stanford University; Notice, California 94305 Copyright Complaints Trademark (October 15, 2013). "Entrepreneur Jim Clark to donate $60 million for interdisciplinary research at Stanford". Stanford University. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  43. Sandra Feder. "New program supports research and discovery in theoretical physics with $10 million gift | Stanford Humanities and Sciences". humsci.stanford.edu. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  44. Sandra Feder. "New program supports research and discovery in theoretical physics with $10 million gift | Stanford Humanities and Sciences". humsci.stanford.edu. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  45. Matt Hines (July 30, 2004). "Web luminaries hand $60 million to Tulane". CNET .
  46. "Who We Are: National Council]". National Council of World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  47. "Gifts and Grants". The Perlman Music Program . Retrieved December 29, 2010.