the mouse


Part 1: A virtual unknown
Part 2: Against all odds
Part 3: Debunking the legend of the mouse
Part 4: The crusade
Part 5: It's networking
Part 6: A pioneers' reunion
Tech pioneers
Tech Pioneers

Some of the computer scientists responsible for groundbreaking technological innovations in the past three decades have achieved a measure of fame; others toiled for years with little or no recognition outside the industry. Those who appeared at the tribute to Douglas Engelbart at Stanford University in December:

Stuart Card: Took idea of the mouse and helped refine it. Still at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, developing new paradigms of human-machine interaction.

William K. English: Credited with building the hardware and many software interfaces for Engelbart's groundbreaking two-way interactive oNLine System. (Engelbart showed him a sketch for an idea - the computer mouse; English built it.) After leaving the Stanford Research Institute's Augmentation Research Center, English continued his work at Xerox PARC. Later moved to Sun Microsystems; now retired and lives on a houseboat in Sausalito.

Charles Irby : Worked with Engelbart as chief architect of NLS at SRI. Led design of the Xerox Star user interface at Xerox PARC. Responsible for consumer products and technology at Silicon Graphics.

Alan Kay: Conceived ideas of the personal laptop computer, overlapping-window interface and modern object-oriented programming. One of the founders of Xerox PARC. Member of the University of Utah ARPA research team that developed 3-D graphics; participated in the original design of the ARPANET. Currently VP of research and development, The Walt Disney Company.

Ted Nelson: Coined the term 'hypertext.' Now heads Project Xanadu, which seeks a "deeper" form of hypertext and publishing than currently available.

Jeff Rulifson: Worked with Engelbart and English at Xerox PARC on NLS, videoconferencing and more. Moved to SRI. An ARPANET pioneer. Currently executive at Sun Microsystems.

Andries "Andy" van Dam: In 1967 collaborated with Nelson on the development of the Hypertext Editing System (HES); has since built multiple other hypermedia systems. A founder of Brown University's Department of Computer Science.

For more information, and to download Engelbart's famed 1968 video, see