Alan Kay

Alan Kay

Dr. Alan Kay, Disney Fellow and Vice President of Research and Development, The Walt Disney Company, is best known for the idea of personal computing, the conception of the intimate laptop computer, and the inventions of the now ubiquitous overlapping-window interface and modern object-oriented programming. His deep interest in children and education was the catalyst for these ideas, and it continues to be a source of inspiration to him.

Kay, one of the founders of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, led one of the groups that in concert developed these ideas into modern workstations (and the forerunners of the Macintosh), Smalltalk, the overlapping window interface, Desktop Publishing, the Ethernet, Laser printing, and network "client-servers."

Prior to his work at Xerox, Dr. Kay was a member of the University of Utah ARPA research team that developed 3-D graphics. There he earned a doctorate (with distinction) in 1969 for the development of the first graphical object-oriented personal computer. He holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and molecular biology from the University of Colorado. Kay also participated in the original design of the ARPANet, which later became the Internet.

Dr. Kay has received numerous honors, including the ACM Software Systems Award and the J-D Warnier Prix D'Informatique  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. A former professional jazz guitarist, composer, and theatrical designer, he is now an amateur classical pipe organist.