Alan Kay

Inventor of the SmalltalkLanguage (along with several other collaborators at XeroxParc) and early evangelizer of ObjectOrientedProgramming. It could be argued that he was the primary trigger of the popularity of OOP starting in the mid 1980's, resulting in almost every new language having at least some support OOP in it since.

Recipient of the 2003 TuringAward. (The lecture might have been interesting... might have evoked memories of JohnBackuss famous speech at that venue.)

Alan tells his own story in the EarlyHistoryOfSmalltalk.

A founding father for our fledgling discipline?

Some pages featuring AlanKay:

For many years since 1997, TheComputerRevolutionHasntHappenedYet has been one of his stock speeches; he gave it as his TuringAwardLecture in 2004 (see AlanKayTuringAwardLecture).

The complete text and images of AlanKay and AdeleGoldberg's "Personal Dynamic Media" is available linked from this page (along with writings by TedNelson, BrendaLaurel, etc):

AlanKay discusses GraphicalUserInterface design in DoingWithImagesMakesSymbols.

June 15th, 2001 - Alan Kay is supposedly leaving Disney this September with 6 other SqueakSmalltalk programmers.

See OpenCroquet for his new project, a 3D distributed workspace in Squeak. -- I get the impression that his role in Croquet is mostly lending his support and star power to the work of others. (Not at all a trivial contribution, of course.)

There is an interview with AlanKay at

Did he actually do anything at Disney? Or was he just a trophy hire?

Yes, he did something at Disney. He led the Squeak project. He developed the e-toys and the others developed all the support software. They don't publish many of their e-toys, but you can find the support software at

See also SqueakSmalltalk and XeroxParc

HeInventedTheTerm "ObjectOriented", and also coined the phrase "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

Alan Kay was as of November 2002 at HP, working on his new project, OpenCroquet.

On July 21, 2005, HP reportedly laid off AlanKay along with 14,500 other employees. HireMe ;)

He's now an advisor on the OneLaptopPerChild project. DynaBook, ho!

He founded the ViewpointsResearchInstitute in 2001, before taking a job at AppliedMinds? and then the HP position which was terminated in 2005. He's now (2007) working as head of Viewpoints.


CategoryPerson SmalltalkRoadmap CategoryHistory

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