Douglas Engelbart


Douglas Engelbart was born in Portland, Oregon, United States on January 30th, 1925 and is the Entrepreneur. At the age of 88, Douglas Engelbart biography, profession, age, height, weight, eye color, hair color, build, measurements, education, career, dating/affair, family, news updates, and networth are available.

Other Names / Nick Names
Douglas Carl Engelbart
Date of Birth
January 30, 1925
United States
Place of Birth
Portland, Oregon, United States
Death Date
Jul 2, 2013 (age 88)
Zodiac Sign
Computer Scientist, Engineer, Inventor, Professor, Researcher
Douglas Engelbart Height, Weight, Eye Color and Hair Color

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Douglas Engelbart Religion, Education, and Hobbies
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Oregon State University (BS 1948), University of California, Berkeley (MS 1953, PhD 1955)
Douglas Engelbart Spouse(s), Children, Affair, Parents, and Family
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Douglas Engelbart Life

Douglas Carl Engelbart (January 30, 1925-2013) was an American engineer and narrator, as well as an early computer and Internet pioneer.

He is best known for his contributions to human–computer interaction, particularly while at his Augmentation Research Center Lab in SRI International, which resulted in the invention of the mouse and the creation of hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to graphical user interfaces.

These were displayed at The Mother of All Demos in 1968.

Engelbart's law, which claims that human development's inherent rate is increasing, is named after him. He decided that rather than "having a steady job" – including his work at Ames Research Center – he would concentrate on making the world a better place.

He argued that since the complexity of the world's problems was increasing, and that any attempt to improve the world would need coordination of groups of people, the most effective way to solve problems was to increase human intelligence and develop methods of creating collective intelligence.

He believed that the computer, which was at the time viewed solely as a device for automation, would be a vital tool for future knowledge workers to solve such problems.

Early life and education

Engelbart was born in Portland, Oregon, on January 30, 1925, to Carl Louis Engelbart and Gladys Charlotte Amelia Munson Engelbart. His ancestors were of German, Swedish, and Norwegian origins.

He was the middle of three children, with a sister Dorianne (three years older) and a brother David (14 months older). In his early years, the family lived in Portland, Oregon, and then moved to Johnson Creek, Oregon, when he was 8. His father died a year later. In 1942, he graduated from Franklin High School in Portland, Oregon.

He spent two years in the Philippines as a radio and radar technician from his undergraduate years at Oregon State University. It was on the remote island of Leyte in a tiny traditional hut on stilts that he read Vannevar Bush's book "As We Should Think," which would have a major influence on his thinking and work. In 1948, he returned to Oregon State and obtained his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon's social fraternity while at Oregon State. He was recruited by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at the Ames Research Center, where he worked in wind tunnel repairs. He loved hiking, camping, and folk dancing in his spare time. He met Ballard Fish (August 18, 1928 – June 18, 1997), who was still completing her education to become an occupational therapist. On May 5, 1951, they were married in Portola State Park. Engelbart left Ames to pursue graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, just over a year after. He earned an M.S. degree from the University of Texas. In 1953, a PhD in electrical engineering was awarded to the discipline, and in 1955, it became a PhD.


Douglas Engelbart Career

Career and accomplishments

Engelbart's career began in December 1950 when he was engaged to be married but discovered he had no other ambitions other than "a steady job, getting married, and living happily ever after."

Over several months he reasoned that:

Engelbart had read with skepticism Vannevar Bush's article "As We May Think," a call to action for making knowledge widely available as a national peacetime grand challenge. He had also read about the latest computer technology, and from his work as a radar technician, he knew that data could be analysed and displayed on a computer. He imagined intellectual employees at "working stations" on display, floating through information space, leveraging their collective intellectual ability to solve complex problems together in much more efficient ways. At a time when computers were viewed as number crunching devices, Harnessing collective intelligence, which was aided by interactive computers, became his life's project.

He was involved in the building of CALDIC as a graduate student at Berkeley. He obtained eight patents as a result of his graduate studies. Engelbart continued to Berkeley as an assistant professor for a year before deciding that he did not pursue his dream there. Engelbart founded Digital Techniques, a start-up company that sells some of his doctoral study on storage devices, but after a year, he opted to continue the study he's been dreaming of since 1951.

In 1957, Engelbart joined SRI International (now known as Stanford Research Institute) in Menlo Park, California. Engelbart and Crane met as friends while working with Hewitt Crane on magnetic systems and miniaturization of electronics. Engelbart soon earned a dozen patents, and by 1962, he had written a paper entitled Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. This paper introduced "Building Information Modelling," which architectural and engineering schooling eventually adopted (first as "parametric design") in the 1990s and thereafter.

ARPA was able to fund his research as a result of his efforts. Engelbart's new Augmentation Research Center (ARC, the lab he founded at SRI) has recruited a research team. Engelbart's lab had a set of organizational principles, which he described as a "bootstrapping tactic." He devised a program to improve the rate of innovation in his laboratory.

The ARC was the driving force behind the design and manufacture of the oN-Line System (NLS). Bitmapped screens, the mouse, hypertext, collaboration applications, and precursors to the graphical user interface were all developed by he and his team. He conceived and developed several of his user interface designs in the mid-1960s, long before the personal computer revolution, and at a time when most computers were inaccessible to individuals who could only use computers through intermediaries (see batch processing), and when custom applications in proprietary systems were written for vertical applications.

Engelbart applied for a patent in 1967 and was granted in 1970 for the wooden shell with two metal wheels (computer mouse, see U.S. Patent 3,541,541), which he co-created with Bill English, his lead engineer, sometime before 1965. It is described as a "X-Y position indicator for a display device" in the patent application. Engelbart later revealed that it was named the "mouse" because the tail came out the end. Cursor on-screen was also described as a "bug," by his organization, but it was not widely distributed. Engelbart's original cursor was displayed as an arrow pointing upward, but it was slanted to the left upon its installation in the XEROX PARC machine to better distinguish between on-screen text and the cursor in the machine's low-resolution display. The now-familiar cursor arrow is distinguished by a vertical left side and a 45-degree angle on the right.

The mouse's invention by him never received any royalties. "SRI patented the mouse, but they had no idea of its value," he said in a interview. They had sold it to Apple Computer for about $40,000," a few years ago. In 1968 at The Mother of All Demos, Engelbart displayed the chorded keyboard and many other of his and ARC's inventions.

Engelbart disappeared into obscurity in the mid-1970s. Many of his researchers became alienated from him and left his company for Xerox PARC, partly due to a mixture of opinion about computing's future. Engelbart saw the future in collaborative, networked, timeshare (client-server) computers, which younger programmers dismissed in favour of the personal computer. Both technological and ideological: the younger programmers came from an age where central power was highly suspect, and personal computing was just a fad.

Several key ARC employees were active in Erhard Seminars Education (EST), beginning in 1972, with Engelbart later serving on the corporation's board of directors for many years. Despite the fact that EST had been suggested by other researchers, the ambiguity of EST and other social experiments also harmed the ARC community's morale and social cohesion. The 1969 Mansfield Amendment, which suspended military assistance for non-military studies, the Vietnam War, and the closure of the Apollo program all reduced ARC's funds from ARPA and NASA in the early 1970s.

The SRI's leadership, who condemned Engelbart's attempt to run the center, placed the remains of ARC under the custody of artificial intelligence researcher Bertram Raphael, who arranged the transfer of the laboratory to Tymshare in 1976. During this time, Engelbart's home in Atherton, California, died, causing him and his family more problems. Tymshare renamed NLS and the lab's development, hired the majority of the lab's workers (including the lab's founder as a Senior Scientist) and offered it as a commercial service through its new Office Automation Division, and expanded it to include commercial services. Tymshare was already familiar with NLS; when ARC was still operational, it had tried its own local NLS software on a minicomputer called OFFICE-1 as part of a joint initiative with ARC.

Engelbart was soon marginalized at Tymshare, becoming even more marginalized. Tymshare's operational worries overrode Engelbart's inability to continue learning. Several executives, first at Tymshare and later on McDonnell Douglas, who acquired Tymshare in 1984, expressed an interest in his ideas, but no one committed the money or the people to further develop them. McDonnell Douglas' focus inside was on the critical knowledge management and IT challenges involved in an aerospace program that served to boost Engelbart's efforts to propel the information technology industry toward global interoperability and an open hyperdocument framework. In 1986, Engelbart left McDonnell Douglas and decided to do his work free of corporate pressure.

He founded the Bootstrap Institute in 1988 to coalesce his thoughts into a series of three-day and half-day management seminars at Stanford University, which he co-produced with his daughter, Christina Engelbart. By the early 1990s, there was ample enthusiasm among his seminar students to begin a joint venture, and the Bootstrap Alliance was established as a non-profit home base for this movement. Despite the fact that the invasion of Iraq and subsequent recession resulted in a rash of belt-tightening reorganizations that had drastically redirected the efforts of their alliance partners, the management seminars, analysis, and small-scale collaborations continued. They were given some DARPA funds to design a modern user interface to Augment, called Visual Augment (VAT), in the mid-1990s, as part of a larger scheme addressing the Joint Task Force's IT needs.

Engelbart was the founder Emeritus of the Doug Engelbart Institute, which he founded in 1988 with his daughter Christina Engelbart, who is Executive Director. Engelbart's philosophy for raising Collective IQ—the idea of dramatically improving how we can solve complex problems together — is promoted by the Institute, which is based on a strategic bootstrapping strategy aimed at propelling our progress toward that goal. Engelbart received a National Science Foundation grant in 2005 to finance the open source HyperScope project. The Hyperscope team developed a browser component that would include Augment's multiple viewing and jumping capabilities (including links within and outside various documents).

Engelbart attended the Future 2010 Conference in San Jose and online to discuss how to achieve his goal of improving collective intelligence.

Engelbart's bootstrapping theories can be found in Boosting Our Collective IQ, by Douglas C. Engelbart, 1995. This includes three of Engelbart's most popular papers, reimagined into book form by Yuri Rubinsky and Christina Engelbart to honor Doug Engelbart's 1995 SoftQuad Web Award at the World Wide Web Conference in Boston in December 1995. Only 2,000 softcover copies were made, and 100 hardcover, numbered and signed by Engelbart and Tim Berners-Lee. The Doug Engelbart Institute is republishing Engelbart's book.

Engelbart's lab and research are included in What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff and A History of Innovation: SRI's First Half Century by Donald Neilson. Thierry Bardini's Bootstrapping: A Conversation with Douglas Engelbart and his Laboratory includes: Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and The Origins of Personal Computing by Thierry Bardini and The Engelbart Hypothesis: Dialogs with Douglas Engelbart and Eileen Clegg in a discussion with Douglas Engelbart. Both four books are based on interviews with Engelbart and other researchers in his lab.

Engelbart served on the University of Santa Clara Center for Science, Technology, and Society, Foresight Institute, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, and The Liquid Information Company.

Engelbart's first wife, Ballard, died in 1997 after 47 years of marriage. On January 26, 2008, he married writer and producer Karen O'Leary Engelbart. At the Tech Museum of Innovation, an 85th birthday celebration was held. Engelbart died at his home in Atherton, California, on July 2, 2013, as a result of kidney failure. Ted Nelson, a close friend and fellow internet pioneer, delivered a speech lauding Engelbart. His death came after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, which he was first diagnosed with in 2007. Engelbart, an elderly man, was survived by his second wife, the four children from his first marriage, and nine grandchildren.

Engelbart's dynamic personal philosophy (which fueled all his studies) inspired the modern application of the notion of coevolution to science and technology, according to Thierry Bardini, a science historian. Engelbart was strongly influenced by Benjamin Lee Whorf's concept of linguistic relativity, according to Bardini. Where Worf's argument that the sophistication of a language determines the sophistication of the ideas that can be expressed by a speaker of that language, Engelbart argued that our current technology controls our ability to manipulate data, which in turn would determine our ability to produce new, enhanced technologies. He then set himself up to the challenging challenge of creating computer-based technologies for manipulating knowledge more effectively, as well as improving individual and group processes for knowledge-based tasks.


Apple's first mice were sold for £147,000 by a rare computer mouse that inspired Steve Jobs to create Apple's first mice, March 20, 2023
At a £147,000 auction, a computer mouse that inspired Steve Jobs to design Apple's first mice sold well with bidders. Douglas Engelbart, a programmer who pioneered the controller system, developed the early mouse and code keyset. On Thursday, a lot sold for around 12 times less than half of what was expected in a bid by Boston-based RR Auction. Engelbart's rare, early three-button computer mouse locates the cursor's location on the bottom, rather than a ball or optical light that would be used later. The code keyset includes five keys for key-press typing and entering commands, allowing 31 key-press combinations.