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Computer Pioneer Alan Kay Joins HP


Co-founder of Xerox PARC to Focus on New Platform for Devices, Applications

PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 26, 2002

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HP (NYSE:HPQ) today announced that Alan Kay, one of the founders of Xerox PARC and a computer industry pioneer, has joined the company.

He will be a Senior Fellow in HP Labs, researching and developing new software platforms for devices and distributed applications, based on open source code.

"We're delighted to have a person of Alan's stature join our team," said Dick Lampman, HP senior vice president of research, and director, HP Labs. "His energy, creativity and special insights have had a huge impact on the industry."

Kay will report to Patrick Scaglia, vice president, Internet and Computing Platform Technologies, HP Labs.

"Alan's interests coincide perfectly with our efforts to create a new software platform for the 21st century," said Scaglia. "The core technologies he's currently pursuing will be an ideal complement to our own research and development."

"I'm excited about working with the outstanding team at HP Labs and throughout the company," said Kay. "I agree with HP on the need to support standards-based, modular systems, where it makes sense for users and the industry."

Kay will continue his association with the Viewpoints Research Institute, a nonprofit organization in Glendale, Calif., that he helped found to improve both general education and understanding of complex systems. He believes, for example, that it should be possible to teach children as young as 5 years old to create simple programs using a set of authoring tools known as "Squeak," which relies heavily on images, rather than words.

"Our work with children is aimed at teaching them 'real math' and 'real science' through making their own simulations, including games," Kay said. "We want to help them develop thinking and learning skills across a broad range of topics. We also believe that many great inventions are created by working with children."

Kay is one of the earliest pioneers of personal computing and his comment, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it," is widely quoted.

In the late '60s, Kay participated in the design of ARPAnet, the forerunner of the Internet. He also created the Dynabook, an early version of today's laptops, with a flat screen, stylus, wireless network and local storage.

At Xerox PARC in the early '70s he invented Smalltalk, the first complete, dynamic object-oriented language, development and operating system.

His work at PARC also included bitmap displays, used in all computers today, as well as overlapping windows, icons and the point-click-and-drag user interface.

He also was chief scientist at Atari from 1981-84, where he set up Atari Research Labs throughout the country. From early 1984 through late 1996, he was a Fellow at Apple and independent researcher, working on end-user languages, input-output devices and The Viviarium, an educational research project that lasted nearly eight years. In late 1996, he joined Walt Disney Imagineering, The Walt Disney Company, as a Fellow working on digital media projects. His five-year contract with Disney ended in September 2001.

About HP

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