Butler W. Lampson (born 1943) is a renowned computer scientist.
After graduating from the Lawrenceville School (where in 2009 he was awarded the Aldo Leopold Award, also known as the Lawrenceville Medal, Lawrenceville's highest award to alumni), Lampson received his Bachelor's degree in Physics from Harvard University in 1964, and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1967.
During the 1960s, Lampson and others were part of Project GENIE at UC Berkeley. In 1965, several Project GENIE members, specifically Lampson and Peter Deutsch, developed the Berkeley Timesharing System for Scientific Data Systems' SDS 940 computer.
Lampson was one of the founding members of Xerox PARC in 1970, where he worked in the Computer Science Laboratory (CSL). His now-famous vision of a personal computer was captured in the 1972 memo entitled "Why Alto?". In 1973, the Xerox Alto, with its three-button mouse and full-page-sized monitor was born. It is now considered to be the first actual personal computer (at least in terms of what has become the 'canonical' GUI mode of operation).
All the subsequent computers built at Xerox PARC followed a general blueprint called "Wildflower", written by Lampson, and this included the D-Series Machines, the "Dolphin" (used in the Xerox 1100 LISP machine), "Dandelion" (used in the Xerox 8010 model of the Xerox Star and Xerox 1108 LISP machine), "Dandetiger" (used in the Xerox 1109 LISP machine), "Dorado" (used in the Xerox 1132 LISP machine), "Daybreak" Xerox 6085, and "Dragon" (a 4-processor 6085 with one of the first snoopy caches, though never released to production).
At PARC, Lampson helped work on many other revolutionary technologies, such as laser printer design; two-phase commit protocols; Bravo, the first WYSIWYG text formatting program; Ethernet, the first high-speed local area network (LAN); and designed several influential programming languages such as Euclid.
By the early 1980s, Lampson left Xerox PARC for Digital Equipment Corporation; he now works for Microsoft Research. Lampson is also an adjunct professor at MIT.
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