Alan Kay is one of the earliest pioneers of personal computing, and his research continues today.
At the Utah ARPA Project in 1966, inspired by Sketchpad, Simula, biology and algebra, he invented dynamic object-oriented programming.
In 1967-9 he and Ed Cheadle invented the FLEX Machine, a very early modern desktop machine they called a "personal com-puter". It had a display, a pointing and drawing tablet, a multiple window graphical user interface, and the first object oriented operating system.
During this time he also participated in the design of the ARPAnet, the forerunner of the Internet.
In 1968, after a visit to Seymour Papert's early LOGO work with children, he designed "a personal computer for children of all ages" — the Dynabook — in the form of a very portable notebook, with a flat-screen, stylus, wireless network, and local storage.
At Xerox PARC in the early 70s he invented Smalltalk, which was the first complete dynamic object oriented language, development, and operating system. It is still the leading such system today, especially in the free open-source version called Squeak.
At PARC he was one of the instigators for the first bitmap displays (that all computers use today), and the main inventor of the now ubiquitous overlapping windows, icons, point-click-and-drag user interface.
He was head of one of several groups at PARC that together created much of modern computing, including: the personal com-puter with bitmap display, overlapping windows GUI, WYSIWYG word processing & desktop publishing, object-oriented OS, music synthesis, painting and animation, laser printing, ethernet, client-server (and peer-peer) networking, and parts of the Inter-net.
Most of his contributions from 1968 onwards have been the result of trying to invent and test better learning environments, mainly for children.
He has been a Xerox Fellow, Chief Scientist of Atari, Apple Fellow, and Disney Fellow. In 2001 he founded Viewpoints Re-search Institute, a non-profit organization located in Glendale, CA. He recently joined the Hewlett-Packard Co. as a Senior Fellow at HP Labs.
Formal Education: BA in Mathematics and Molecular Biology with minor concentrations in English and Anthropology from the University of Colorado, 1966. MS and PhD in Computer Science (both with distinction) from the University of Utah, 1968 and 1969.
He started in show business as a professional jazz guitarist. Much of his subsequent work combined music and theatrical production. Today he is an avid amateur classical pipe organist.
Honors include: J-D Warnier Prix d'Informatique, ACM Systems Software Award, Computers & Communication Foundation Prize, Lewis Branscomb Technology Award, etc.
He has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Society of Arts.