2004Advanced TechnologyInformation Science
Alan Curtis Kay photo

Alan Curtis Kay

  • U.S.A. / May 17, 1940
  • Computer Scientist
  • President, Viewpoints Research Institute

Creation of the Concept of Modern Personal Computing and Outstanding Contribution to Its Realization

In the second half of the 1960s, when the mainstream trend was toward ever larger computers, Dr. Kay proposed the concept of the personal computer as a tool to support the intellectual work of individuals, and so initiated a paradigm shift in the computer world. Furthermore, as a pioneer in the development of the graphic user interface and object-oriented language environment, he has made a fundamental contribution to the realization of today's personal computing.

Profile

Brief Biography

1940
Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
1969
University of Utah Ph.D. (Computer Science)
1969
Research Associate and Lecturer, AI Project, Stanford University
1971
Researcher and Fellow, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
1981
Chief Scientist, Atari
1984
Fellow, Apple Computer
1996
Vice President, Research and Development, The Walt Disney Co.
2001
Founder and President, Viewpoints Research Institute, Inc.
2002
Senior Fellow, Hewlett-Packard Company
2002
Program Manager, IPA Exploratory Software Project
2004
Visiting Professor, Department of Social Informatics, Kyoto University
2004
Adjunct Professor, Department of Computer Science, UCLA
2004
Sr. Scientist, Div. Info. Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Selected Awards and Honors

1987
Software Systems Award, ACM
1989
Lifetime Achievement Award, SPA
1990
J-D Warnier Prix d'Informatique
1992
Outstanding Educator Award, ACM SIGCSE
2001
Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Computing Award, IMAS
2001
C&C Prize, NEC
2003
A. M. Turing Award, ACM
2004
C. S. Draper Prize, National Academy of Engineering
Members
Royal Society of Arts, National Academy of Engineering

Selected Publications

1977

Personal dynamic media (with Adele Goldberg), IEEE Computer, March, 31, 1977.

1984

Computer Software, Scientific American, 251, 41, 1984.

1990

User interface: A personal view, in The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design, ed. (Brenda Laurel, Addison-Wesley) 191, 1990.

1996

The early history of smalltalk, in ACM History of programming languages II, (Addison-Wesley), 1996.

1997

Back to the future: the story of squeak – a usable smalltalk written in itself (with D. Ingalls, T. Kaehler, J. Maloney, S. Wallace), OOPSLA 1997: 318, 1997.

Citation

Creation of the Concept of Modern Personal Computing and Outstanding Contribution to Its Realization

Dr. Kay envisaged that computers should be “personal and dynamic media”, and originated the concept and ideals and has contributed to its realization that would be developed into the “personal computer” which is used in a wide range of applications today.

At the end of the 1960s, computers were expensive machines used by specialists and using one of these machines required knowledge of programming languages. Manufacturing efforts focused on producing the largest computers possible. Dr. Kay envisioned “creating a computer to support the intellectual endeavors of individuals,” and so began R&D on what he called the “personal computer.” In the early 1970s, he unveiled his concept for the “Dynabook” machine, which represented the ideal of a personal computer. The Dynabook conceived as a computer that could be used freely by anyone -even children -was portable, could be connected to a wireless network. The idea represented a complete paradigm shift in what a computer was and how it could be used.

To make his concept a reality, Dr. Kay contributed to the development of the Alto personal computer as one of the principal designers at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Alto already had nearly all of the important features common to personal computers employed today. In particular, the innovative interface for visually operating the computer is the origin of the current graphical user interface, that Dr. Kay involved to its design of e.g. over-lapping windows. In the area of software, Dr. Kay led the invention of “Smalltalk,” a programming development environment. The success of programming using an object oriented syntax not only had a major impact on the design of such computer languages, but also made a significant contribution to the general methodology for developing the present-day complex information systems.

Dr. Kay recognized early on that computers could make a major contribution to education, and much of his work has been dedicated to computer education for children, especially small children. He is leading projects to teach school children the basics of software and the thought processes for system construction so that they can learn effortlessly with these. The objective is to carefully guide the children through the stages of development to provide them with the foundation they need to become individuals who can thrive in the information society.

Through his more than 30 years of personal dedication to seeing that vision realized and inspiring its refinement, Dr. Kay has given dreams to computer developers, and has made fundamental contributions to the dramatic expansion of computer applications and to a fundamental transformation of the way we approach intellectual, creative, social and economic activities today.

For these reasons, the Inamori Foundation is pleased to present the 2004 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology Category to Dr. Alan Curtis Kay.

Lecture

Abstract of the Lecture

The Center of “Why?”

In the second half of the 1960s, when the mainstream trend was toward ever larger computers, Dr. Kay proposed the concept of the personal computer as a tool to support the intellectual work of individuals, and so initiated a paradigm shift in the computer world. Furthermore, as a pioneer in the development of the graphic user interface and object-oriented language environment, he has made a fundamental contribution to the realization of today’s personal computing.

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Workshop

Workshop

Future of Personal Computing and Education

date
November 12, 2004
palce
Kyoto international Conference Hall
Coordinator and Moderator
Akinori Yonezawa (Member, Kyoto Prize Selection Committee; Professor, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo)

Program

13:00
Opening
Opening Address Katsuo Ikeda
(Chairman, Kyoto Prize Selection Committee; Professor, Department of Information Science and Technology, Osaka Institute of Technology)
Introduction to the Laureate Akinori Yonezawa
Laureate Lecture Alan Curtis Kay
"Making the Invisible More Visible — Children, Powerful Ideas, and Technologies"
Lecture Takeo Igarashi
(Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Information Science & Technology, the University of Tokyo)
"3D Graphics for Everyone"
Lecture Akikazu Takeuchi
(Senior General Manager, Personal Solutions Business Group, Sony Co.)
"Graphical Expression on the Web"
Lecture Toyoaki Nishida
(Professor, Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University)
"Towards Communicative Intelligence ? Enabling Conversations Beyond Space and Time"
Lecture Hideyuki Takada
(Researcher, Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University)
"Experiences and Future of Computer-based Education on Creativity"
Panel Discussion "Future of Personal Computing and Education: Breakthrough Needed?"
Moderator:
Akinori Yonezawa
Panelists:
Alan Curtis Kay
Takeo Igarashi, Toyoaki Nishida, Hideyuki Takada, and Akikazu Takeuchi
17:10
Closing
PAGETOP