Alan Kay, one of the founders of the Xerox PARC research lab and a former Apple employee, is joining Hewlett-Packard’s research lab, according to a Reuters
“Hewlett-Packard is very interested in a wide range of systems and that overlaps quite a bit with my own interests and they’re also looking for new markets,” Kay told Reuters. “My MO (modus operandi) has been to start with end users, usually children, and try and think about the kinds of experiences that would help them to grow in different ways.”
He added that he’ll continue his association with Viewpoints Research Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Glendale, California, that he helped found to improve general education as well as the understanding of complex systems. Kay believes that it should be possible to teach children as young as five years old to create simple computer programs using a set of software authoring tools known as “Squeak, which relies heavily on images, rather than words.”
Kay comes to HP from Disney, where he developed the use of Squeak.
Kay worked at Apple from 1984 to 1996. In the late 1960s, he participated in the design of ARPAnet, the forerunner of the Internet. He also helped to create the Dynabook, an early version of today’s laptops.
In fact, the Dynabook idea was the basis for early personal computer work at the Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC), where Kay worked on the development of graphical user interfaces until 1981.
He left Xerox in 1983, worked briefly at Atari, then became an Apple Fellow in 1984 — the year the Mac was produced. During the next few years Kay lived in Los Angeles but trekked across the country to teach brief stints at MIT and to work at Apple.