Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, January 16, 2008
HP Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B01

The Lively Kernel
A Self Supporting System on a Web Page

Daniel Ingalls
Sun Laboratories, Menlo Park
About the talk:

The Sun Labs Lively Kernel is a new approach to web programming. It provides a complete platform for web applications, including dynamic graphics, network access, and development tools, and requires nothing more than available web browsers. We call the system lively for three reasons:

It comes live off a web page. There is no installation. The entire system is written in JavaScript, and it becomes active as soon as the page is loaded by a browser.

It can change itself and create new content. The Lively Kernel includes a basic graphics editor that allows it to alter and create new graphical content, and also a simple IDE that allows it to alter and create new applications. It comes with a basic library of graphical and computational components, and these, as well as the kernel, can be altered and extended on the fly.

It can save new artifacts, even clone itself, onto new web pages. The kernel includes WebDav support for browsing and extending remote file systems, and thus has the ability to save its objects and "worlds" (applications) as new active web pages.

The Lively Kernel uses only existing web standards. The implementation and user language is JavaScript, known by millions and supported in every browser. The graphics APIs are built upon SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), also available in major browsers. The network protocols used are asynchronous HTTP and WebDav.

The Lively Kernel is being made available as Open Source software under a GPL license. While it is not ready for use as a product, we expect significant participation from adventurous developers and academia.

About the speaker:

Dan Ingalls is the principal architect of five generations of Smalltalk environments, culminating in the release of Squeak, an open-source Smalltalk system written in itself. He designed the byte-coded virtual machine that made Smalltalk practical in 1976. He invented BitBlt, the general-purpose graphical operation that underlies most bitmap graphics systems today, and also pop-up menus. He has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award for Outstanding Young Scientist, and the ACM Software Systems Award.

Dan is currently at Sun Microsystems where he is working on the Lively Kernel, a self-supporting computing kernel that lives on a web page and requires no installation.

Dan Received his B.A. in Physics from Harvard University, and his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Contact information:

Daniel Ingalls