2009 NMC Fellows Award: Doug Engelbart, Ph.D.

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Doug Engelbart is best known for inventing the computer mouse, and is a pioneer of human-computer interaction, including GUIs, hypertext, and groupware, as well as strategic organizing principles for continuous improvement and innovation.
Engelbart received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Oregon State University in 1948, an M.S. degree from UC Berkeley in 1953, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from UC Berkeley in 1955.

As a World War II radio technician based in the Philippines, Engelbart was inspired by Vannevar Bush’s article As We May Think. After the war, he was moved to carve out a career that would make a significant difference to humanity and the planet. He envisioned outfitting the people working on solutions to important problems with interactive computers, enabling them to fly through their information spaces to optimize their collective problem-solving capabilities.

Following his inspiration, Engelbart quit his comfortable job as an engineer at NASA, and studied at UC Berkeley, where he earned a PhD in 1955. Engelbart was the primary force behind the design of the Stanford Research Institute ’s On-Line System, or NLS. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s he and his team at the Augmentation Research Center developed human-computer interface elements such as the mouse, multiple windows, hypermedia, online publishing, online communities, groupware, and the graphical user interface. He developed many of his user interface ideas before 1968, long before the personal computer revolution, captured for posterity in what is now known as The Mother of All Demos.

Learn more about Doug's history...

In December 2008, the 40th anniversary of the Mother of All Demos, Doug and his visionary work was recognized at two major events: the Program for the Future and the Dawn of Interactive Computing. Join the NMC at the closing of the 2009 NMC Summer Conference as we award Doug the NMC’s highest recognition as an NMC Fellow.
This tribute video was compiled from interviews with Doug in 2002:

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