SRI Commemorates 40th Anniversary of Seminal Computing Demonstration | SRI International

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SRI International Event Commemorates 40th Anniversary of Seminal Demonstration by Doug Engelbart and Other Computing Pioneers

Impact of First Demonstration of the Mouse and Other Fundamentals of Modern Computing Still Felt Today

Menlo Park, Calif. —December 3, 2008— Personal and interactive computing made its world debut on December 9, 1968 when Dr. Douglas Engelbart and his team at SRI (at the time called Stanford Research Institute and a part of Stanford University) gave the first public demonstration of the mouse and other fundamentals of modern computing.  On December 9, 2008, SRI International presents a 40th anniversary event in Memorial Auditorium at Stanford University to celebrate what has been called the "mother of all demos."

On that day in 1968 at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, Engelbart and his team in SRI's Augmentation Research Center (ARC) debuted numerous—and now ubiquitous—technology innovations, including hypertext linking, multiple windows with flexible view control, real-time on-screen text editing, shared-screen teleconferencing, and the computer mouse. Engelbart and his colleague William English, the engineer who designed the first mouse, conducted a real-time demonstration in San Francisco with co-workers connected from his ARC laboratory at SRI's headquarters in Menlo Park, CA.


The 1968 demo presaged many of the technologies we use today, from personal computing to social networking. The demo embodied Engelbart's vision of solving humanity's most important problems by harnessing computers as tools for collaboration and the augmentation of our collective intelligence.


“Doug Engelbart once said, ‘the better we get, the better we get at getting better.’ That concept, combined with his creation of perhaps the most innovative interactive computing tools ever developed, has been a personal inspiration to me,” said Curt Carlson, Ph.D., SRI president and CEO. “Doug and his team exemplified the disciplined approach to innovation used by SRI researchers today. By focusing on a very important problem, capturing the genius of the team, and continuously improving their tools, they accomplished a tour de force unlike any other in the field. Silicon Valley, the computing industry, and society are indebted to Doug and his team. SRI is honored to mark the 40th anniversary of this amazing event.”


SRI will commemorate the 40th anniversary of this historic event on December 9, 2008 from 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM at Stanford University's Memorial Auditorium.  Doug Engelbart will be in attendance, and original demo participants will recount what led up to the 1968 demo, the drama of the demonstration itself, and its impact—which no one could have imagined at the time.


Speakers include:

  • Don Andrews, Vice President, Adobe (retired)
  • Daniel Borel, Co-founder and Board Member, Logitech
  • Christina  Engelbart, Executive Director, Doug Engelbart Institute
  • William English, Director of Internationalization, Sun Microsystems (retired)
  • Charles House, Executive Director, Media X at Stanford University
  • Alan Kay, President, Viewpoints Research Institute
  • John Markoff, Senior Writer, The New York Times
  • Bill Paxton, Senior Fellow, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Jeff Rulifson, Director, VLSI Research Group, Sun Microsystems Laboratories
  • Robert Sproull, Vice President and Fellow, Sun Microsystems
  • Robert W. Taylor, Founding Director, Digital Equipment Corporation System Research Center (retired)
  • Andries van Dam, Professor of Computer Science, Brown University

Event sponsors include Logitech (premier sponsor), Media X at Stanford University, IBM, Doug Engelbart Institute, Churchill Club, and the Computer History Museum.

Tickets can be purchased from the Stanford Ticket Office, by calling 650-725-2787, or at the Stanford Ticket Office at Tresidder Union.

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About Doug Engelbart

Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart, Founder Emeritus of the Doug Engelbart Institute, has an unparalleled 40-year track record in predicting, designing, and implementing the future of organizational computing. From his early vision of turning organizations into augmented knowledge workshops, he went on to pioneer what is now known as collaborative hypermedia, knowledge management, community networking, and organizational transformation.

Well-known technological firsts include the mouse, display editing, windows, cross-file editing, outline processing, hypermedia, and groupware. After 20 years directing his own lab at SRI, and 11 years as senior scientist, first at Tymshare, and then at McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Engelbart founded the Bootstrap Institute and Alliance with his daughter and partner Christina Engelbart, working closely with industry and government stakeholders to launch a collaborative implementation of his work for over a decade.

Engelbart has received numerous awards for outstanding lifetime achievement and ingenuity, including the National Medal of Technology, the Lemelson-MIT Prize, and ACM's 1997 A.M. Turing Award. His life's work, with his "big-picture" vision and persistent pioneering breakthroughs, has made a significant impact on the past, present, and future of personal, interpersonal, and organizational computing.


About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International is one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations. SRI, which was founded by Stanford University as Stanford Research Institute in 1946 and became independent in 1970, has been meeting the strategic needs of clients and partners for more than 60 years. Perhaps best known for its invention of the computer mouse and interactive computing, SRI has also been responsible for major advances in networking and communications, robotics, drug discovery and development, advanced materials, atmospheric research, education research, economic development, national security, and more. The nonprofit institute performs sponsored research and development for government agencies, businesses, and foundations. SRI also licenses its technologies, forms strategic alliances, and creates spin-off companies. In 2007, SRI’s consolidated revenues, including its wholly owned for-profit subsidiary, Sarnoff Corporation, were approximately $450 million.