notes from /dev/null

by Charles Choi


50 Years Ago

08 Apr 2013  Charles Choi

Sometimes you're told something that happened some time ago. You stash that date in the back of your mind only to recall it much later in life, surprised and chagrined at the time that's passed since you last thought of it.

Today I recalled Ivan Sutherland's Sketchpad, arguably the most significant Computer Science Ph.D. thesis ever. I had the fortune in the mid-90's to watch a rare videocassette recording of Alan Kay describing Sketchpad for a computer graphics course taught by Randy Pausch. Fast-forward to today and the video is only a YouTube search away.

Sketchpad was the first GUI program and it was a Tour de force, being the first to feature:

  • Interactive graphics
  • Constraint-based layout
  • Object Oriented Programming
  • Pen-based input

Yeah, ordinary stuff nowadays. Watch the video above, then think on this:

Ivan Sutherland wrote Sketchpad in 1963.

That was 50 years ago.

Read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sketchpad

Software   Computer Graphics

 

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