Alan Kay

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Alan Curtis Kay (born May 17, 1940) is an American computer scientist, known for his early pioneering work on object-oriented programming and windowing graphical user interface design, and for coining the phrase, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

He is the president of the Viewpoints Research Institute, and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also on the advisory board of TTI/Vanguard. Until mid 2005, he was a Senior Fellow at HP Labs, a Visiting Professor at Kyoto University, and an Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[1]


Early life and work

Originally from Springfield, Massachusetts, Kay attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, earning a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Molecular Biology. Before and during this time, he worked as a professional jazz guitarist.

In 1966, he began graduate school at the University of Utah College of Engineering, earning a Master's degree and a Ph.D. degree. There, he worked with Ivan Sutherland, who had done pioneering graphics programs including Sketchpad. This greatly inspired Kay's evolving views on objects and programming. As he grew busier with ARPA research, he quit his career as a professional musician.

In 1968, he met Seymour Papert and learned of the Logo programming language, a dialect of Lisp optimized for educational use. This led him to learn of the work of Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, Lev Vygotsky, and of Constructionist learning. These further influenced his views.

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