Alan Kay

03 Jan 2021 12:19 - 10 Mar 2021 08:43

    • Bob Barton, the main designer of the B5000 and a professor at Utah had said in one of his talks a few days earlier: "The basic principle of recursive design is to make the parts have the same power as the whole." For the first time I thought of the whole as the entire computer and wondered why anyone would want to divide it up into weaker things called data structures and procedures. Why not divide it up into little computers, as time sharing was starting to? But not in dozens. Why not thousands of them, each simulating a useful structure?... I recalled the monads of Leibniz, the "dividing nature at its joints" discourse of Plato, and other attempts to parse complexity.
    • What Doug Engelbart's system could do then—even by today's standards—was incredible. Not just hypertext, but graphics, multiple panes, efficient navigation and command input, interactive collaborative work, etc. An entire conceptual world and world view. The impact of this vision was to produce in the minds of those who were "eager to be augmented" a compelling metaphor of what interactive computing should be like, and I immediately adopted many of the ideas for the FLEX machine.

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from Agency at the Media Lab
  • Because this was the Media Lab and because I've always hovered somewhere between the user interface design and language design ways of approaching things, I ended making a series of visual or semi-visual systems for building very simple models of agent-like behavior. Most of this work was done under the aegis of the Vivarium Project, an Apple-sponsored research program, directed by Alan Kay, which had the intent of inventing some new models for novice programming environments.
from Vivarium Project
  • A research project led by Alan Kay and Ann Marion, sponsored by Apple, with contributions from the MIT Media Lab and many others. There's surprisingly little public writing about this important and influential nexus of work.