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PARC (Palo Alto Research Center; formerly Xerox PARC) is a
research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geogra ...
company in
Palo Alto, California Palo Alto (; Spanish language, Spanish for "tall stick") is a charter city located in the northwestern corner of Santa Clara County, California, United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The city is named after a Sequoia sempervirens, coast ...

Palo Alto, California
. Founded in 1969 by Jacob E. "Jack" Goldman,
Xerox Corporation Xerox Holdings Corporation (; also known simply as Xerox) is an American corporation that sells print and electronic document, digital document products and services in more than 160 countries. Xerox is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut (hav ...
's chief scientist, the company was originally a division of
Xerox Xerox Holdings Corporation (; also known simply as Xerox) is an American corporation that sells print and digital document An electronic document is any electronic media content (other than computer program A computer program is a collection ...
, tasked with creating computer technology-related products and hardware systems. Xerox PARC has been at the heart of numerous revolutionary computer developments as
laser printing Laser printing is an electrostatic digital printing process. It produces high-quality text and graphics (and moderate-quality photographs) by repeatedly passing a laser beam back and forth over a negatively charged cylinder called a "drum" t ...
,
Ethernet Ethernet () is a family of wired computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These interconnections are made up of te ...

Ethernet
, the modern
personal computer A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician ...
,
graphical user interface The graphical user interface (GUI "UI" by itself is still usually pronounced . or ) is a form of user interface In the industrial design Industrial design is a process of design A design is a plan or specification for the construction ...
(GUI) and desktop paradigm,
object-oriented programming Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm Programming paradigms are a way to classify programming languages based on their features. Languages can be classified into multiple paradigms. Some paradigms are concerned mai ...
,
ubiquitous computing Ubiquitous computing (or "ubicomp") is a concept in software engineering and computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical t ...
,
electronic paper Electronic paper, also sometimes electronic ink, e-ink or electrophoretic display, are display device s, LED A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor A semiconductor material has an Electrical resistivity and conductivity, ...
,
amorphous silicon Amorphous silicon (a-Si) is the non-crystalline A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being liquid, gas and plasma). The molecules in a solid are closely pa ...
(a-Si) applications, the
computer mouse A computer mouse (plural mice, sometimes mouses) is a hand-held pointing device A pointing device is an input interface (specifically a human interface device) that allows a User (computing)#End-user, user to input Three-dimensional sp ...

computer mouse
, and advancing
very-large-scale integration Very large-scale integration (VLSI) is the process of creating an integrated circuit An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one small f ...
(VLSI) for
semiconductor A semiconductor material has an value falling between that of a , such as metallic copper, and an , such as glass. Its falls as its temperature rises; metals behave in the opposite way. Its conducting properties may be altered in useful ways ...
s. Jack's “Advanced Scientific & Systems Laboratory” aimed to develop future technologies; it was not intended to reproduce the already existing Xerox's research laboratory in Rochester, New York, which focused on refining and expanding the company's copier business. Instead, Xerox PARC was a site for pioneering work in advanced physics, materials science, and computer science applications. Xerox formed Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary in 2002.


History

In 1969, Jack Goldman, Xerox's Chief Scientist, spoke to
George Pake George E. Pake (April 1, 1924 – March 4, 2004) was a physicist and research executive primarily known for helping found Xerox PARC PARC (Palo Alto Research Center; formerly Xerox PARC) is a research and development company in Palo Alto, Ca ...
, a
physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at leas ...

physicist
specializing in
nuclear magnetic resonance Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a physical phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ...
and
provost Provost may refer to: People * Provost (name)Provost is a surname of French origin, deriving from a civil or military official responsible for maintaining order. It moved to England with its conquering by William of Normandy in 1066. It is stil ...
of
Washington University in St. Louis Washington University in St. Louis (WashU, or WUSTL) is a private research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher ( ...

Washington University in St. Louis
, about starting a second research center for the company. On July 1, 1970, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center opened. While the 3,000-mile buffer between it and Xerox headquarters in
Rochester, New York Rochester () is a City (New York), city in the U.S. state of New York (state), New York, the county seat, seat of Monroe County, New York, Monroe County, and the fourth-most populous in the state after New York City, Buffalo, New York, Buffalo, ...

Rochester, New York
afforded scientists at the new lab great freedom to undertake their work, the distance also served as an impediment in persuading management of the promise of some of their greatest achievements. PARC's West Coast location proved to be advantageous in the mid-1970s, when the lab was able to hire many employees of the nearby
SRI Shri (; Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (''Nāgarī'', ),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida . ''May Śiva p ...
Augmentation Research Center SRI International's Augmentation Research Center (ARC) was founded in the 1960s by electrical engineer Douglas Engelbart to develop and experiment with new tools and techniques for collaboration and information processing Information processing ...
(ARC) as that facility's funding began falling, from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (
DARPA The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a research and development agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Originally known as the Ad ...
), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government responsible for the civilian Li ...

NASA
) and
U.S. Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphe ...
(USAF). Being situated on
Stanford Research Park Stanford Research Park (SRP) is a technology park File:Technology Centre Teknia Ltd Microteknia area.jpg, 200px, Technology Centre Teknia (Kuopio Science Park), Kuopio Science Park in Finland A science park (also called a "university resear ...
land leased from
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
encouraged Stanford graduate students to be involved in PARC research projects and PARC scientists to collaborate with academic seminars and projects. Much of PARC's early success in the computer field was under the leadership of its Computer Science Laboratory manager Bob Taylor, who guided the lab as associate manager from 1970 to 1977 and as manager from 1977 to 1983.


Today

After three decades as a division of Xerox, PARC was transformed in 2002 into an independent, wholly owned subsidiary company dedicated to developing and maturing advances in science and business concepts. PARC's research areas encompass a range of disciplines in hardware, software, social sciences, and design. Areas include ubiquitous sensing, electrochemical energy systems, material deposition systems, polymeric and composite materials, semiconductor materials, printing for manufacturing, optical sensors, optical and mechanical microsystems, printed and hybrid electronics, large-area thin-film electronics, optoelectronic devices, user experience design, systems security, system prognosis and health management, modeling and simulation of cyber-physical systems, interactive machine learning, human-machine collaboration, geometric and spatial reasoning,
data science#REDIRECT Data science Data science is an Interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge and insights from structured and unstructured data, and apply knowledge a ...

data science
, conversational agents, and computer vision and image synthesis.


Accomplishments

Xerox PARC has been the inventor and incubator of many elements of modern computing in the contemporary office work place: *
Laser printer Laser printing is an electrostatic digital printing process. It produces high-quality text and graphics (and moderate-quality photographs) by repeatedly passing a laser beam back and forth over a negatively Electric charge, charged cylinder call ...

Laser printer
s *Computer-generated
bitmap In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softwar ...

bitmap
graphics *The
graphical user interface The graphical user interface (GUI "UI" by itself is still usually pronounced . or ) is a form of user interface In the industrial design Industrial design is a process of design A design is a plan or specification for the construction ...
, featuring skeuomorphic windows and icons, operated with a
mouse A mouse, plural mice, is a small mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which ...

mouse
*The
WYSIWYG In computing, WYSIWYG ( ), an acronym for What You See Is What You Get, is a system in which editing software allows content to be edited in a form that resembles its appearance when printed or displayed as a finished product, such as a printed d ...
text editor *
InterpressInterpress is a page description language In digital printing, a page description language (PDL) is a computer language that describes the appearance of a printed page in a higher level than an actual output bitmap (or generally raster graphics). An ...
, a resolution-independent graphical page-description language and the precursor to
PostScript PostScript (PS) is a page description language In digital printing, a page description language (PDL) is a computer language that describes the appearance of a printed page in a higher level than an actual output bitmap (or generally raster gra ...

PostScript
*
Ethernet Ethernet () is a family of wired computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These interconnections are made up of te ...

Ethernet
as a local-area computer network *Fully formed object-oriented programming (OOP) (with class-based inheritance, the most popular OOP model to this day) in the
Smalltalk Smalltalk is an object-oriented programming, object-oriented, dynamically typed reflection (computer science), reflective programming language. Smalltalk was created as the language underpinning the "new world" of computing exemplified by "human ...

Smalltalk
programming language A programming language is a formal language In logic, mathematics, computer science, and linguistics, a formal language consists of string (computer science), words whose symbol (formal), letters are taken from an alphabet (computer science) ...

programming language
and integrated development environment *
Prototype-based programming Prototype-based programming is a style of object-oriented programming in which behaviour reuse (known as inheritance (programming), inheritance) is performed via a process of reusing existing object (programming), objects that serve as prototypes. ...
(the second most popular inheritance model in OOP ) in the
Self The self is an individual person as the object of its own reflective consciousness. Since the ''self'' is a reference by a subject to the same subject, this reference is necessarily Subjective character of experience, subjective. The sense of havi ...
programming language *
Model–view–controller Model–view–controller (MVC) is a software design pattern commonly used for developing user interfaces that divide the related program logic into three interconnected elements. This is done to separate internal representations of information fr ...
software architecture *
AspectJ AspectJ is an aspect-oriented programming (AOP) extension created at PARC for the Java (programming language), Java programming language. It is available in Eclipse Foundation open-source projects, both stand-alone and integrated into Eclipse (co ...
an aspect-oriented programming (AOP) extension for the Java programming language


The Alto

Most of these developments were included in the Alto, which added the now familiar
Stanford Research Institute SRI International (SRI) is an American nonprofit organization, nonprofit scientific research, scientific research institute and organization headquartered in Menlo Park, California. The trustees of Stanford University established SRI in 1946 as ...
(SRI) developed
mouse A mouse, plural mice, is a small mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which ...

mouse
,Xerox PARC was the first research group to widely adopt the mouse invented by
Douglas Engelbart Douglas Carl Engelbart (January 30, 1925 – July 2, 2013) was an engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are Professional, professionals who Invention, invent, design, analyze, build and test Machine, machines, complex sys ...
's
Augmentation Research Center SRI International's Augmentation Research Center (ARC) was founded in the 1960s by electrical engineer Douglas Engelbart to develop and experiment with new tools and techniques for collaboration and information processing Information processing ...
at the
Stanford Research Institute SRI International (SRI) is an American nonprofit organization, nonprofit scientific research, scientific research institute and organization headquartered in Menlo Park, California. The trustees of Stanford University established SRI in 1946 as ...
(now
SRI International SRI International (SRI) is an American nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public ...
) in
Menlo Park, California Menlo Park is a city at the eastern edge of San Mateo County San Mateo County ( ), officially the County of San Mateo, is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictiona ...
.
unifying into a single model most aspects of now-standard personal computer use. The integration of Ethernet prompted the development of the PARC Universal Packet architecture, much like today's Internet.


The GUI

Xerox has been heavily criticized (particularly by business historians) for failing to properly commercialize and profitably exploit PARC's innovations. A favorite example is the
graphical user interface The graphical user interface (GUI "UI" by itself is still usually pronounced . or ) is a form of user interface In the industrial design Industrial design is a process of design A design is a plan or specification for the construction ...
(GUI), initially developed at PARC for the Alto and then commercialized as the
Xerox Star The Xerox Star workstation A workstation is a special computer designed for technical or scientific applications. Intended primarily to be used by one person at a time, they are commonly connected to a local area network A local area net ...
by the Xerox Systems Development Department. Although very significant in terms of its influence on future system design, it is deemed a failure because it only sold approximately 25,000 units. A small group from PARC led by
David LiddleDavid Liddle is co-founder of Interval Research Corporation, consulting professor of computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practi ...
and Charles Irby formed Metaphor Computer Systems. They extended the Star desktop concept into an animated graphic and communicating office-automation model and sold the company to
IBM International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the C ...

IBM
.
Bill Gates William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term characterist ...
, the founder of
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multination ...

Microsoft
later stated that the Xerox graphical interface influenced both Microsoft and Apple, and
Steve Jobs Steven Paul Jobs (; February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term ch ...

Steve Jobs
of Apple said that “Xerox could have owned the entire computer industry, could have been the IBM of the nineties, could have been the Microsoft of the nineties."


Distinguished researchers

Among PARC's distinguished researchers were three
Turing Award The ACM A. M. Turing Award is an annual prize given by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for contributions "of lasting and major technical importance to the computer field". It is generally recognized as the highest distinction in com ...
winners: Butler W. Lampson (1992),
Alan Kay Alan Curtis Kay (born May 17, 1940) published by the Association for Computing Machinery The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a US-based international learned society for computing. It was founded in 1947 and is the world's largest ...

Alan Kay
(2003), and Charles P. Thacker (2009). The
Association for Computing Machinery The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a US-based international for . It was founded in 1947 and is the world's largest scientific and educational computing society. The ACM is a professional membership group, claiming nearly 100,000 ...
(ACM) Software System Award recognized the Alto system in 1984,
Smalltalk Smalltalk is an object-oriented programming, object-oriented, dynamically typed reflection (computer science), reflective programming language. Smalltalk was created as the language underpinning the "new world" of computing exemplified by "human ...

Smalltalk
in 1987,
InterLisp Interlisp (also seen with a variety of capitalizations) is a programming environment built around a version of the programming language Lisp. Interlisp development began in 1966 at Bolt, Beranek and Newman (renamed BBN Technologies) in Cambridge, ...
in 1992, and the
remote procedure call#REDIRECT remote procedure call In distributed computing, a remote procedure call (RPC) is when a computer program causes a procedure ( subroutine) to execute in a different address space (commonly on another computer on a shared network), which is ...
in 1994. Lampson, Kay, Bob Taylor, and Charles P. Thacker received the
National Academy of Engineering The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is an American nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
's prestigious
Charles Stark Draper Prize The U.S. National Academy of Engineering annually awards the Draper Prize, which is given for the advancement of engineering and the education of the public about engineering. It is one of three prizes that constitute the "Nobel Prizes of Engineer ...
in 2004 for their work on the Alto.


Legacy

PARC's developments in information technology served for a long time as standards for much of the computing industry. Many advances were not equalled or surpassed for two decades, enormous timespans in the fast-paced high-tech world. While there is some truth that Xerox management failed to see the potential of many of PARC's inventions, this was mostly a problem with its computing research, a relatively small part of PARC's operations. A number of GUI engineers left to join
Apple Computer Apple Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, ...
. Technologies pioneered by its
materials scientists A material is a matter, substance or mixture of substances that constitutes an object. Materials can be pure or impure, living or non-living matter. Materials can be classified based on their physical property, physical and chemical property, che ...
such as
liquid-crystal display A liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a flat panel display, flat-panel display or other Electro-optic modulator, electronically modulated optical device that uses the light-modulating properties of liquid crystals combined with polarizers. Liquid c ...

liquid-crystal display
(LCD),
optical disc In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algorithm) for calculating the greatest ...
innovations, and laser printing were actively and successfully introduced by Xerox to the business and consumer markets. Work at PARC since the early 1980s includes advances in
ubiquitous computing Ubiquitous computing (or "ubicomp") is a concept in software engineering and computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical t ...
,
aspect-oriented programming In computing, aspect-oriented programming (AOP) is a programming paradigm that aims to increase Modularity (programming), modularity by allowing the separation of concerns, separation of cross-cutting concerns. It does so by adding additional be ...
, and
IPv6 Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communication protocol, communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic ...

IPv6
.


See also

*
GlobalView GlobalView was an integrated “desktop environment” including word-processing, desktop-publishing, and simple calculation (spreadsheet) and database functionality. It was developed at Xerox Parc PARC (Palo Alto Research Center; formerly Xerox PA ...
* List of people associated with PARC *
Xerox Daybreak Xerox Daybreak (also Xerox 6085 PCS, Xerox 1186) is a workstation computer marketed by Xerox from 1985 to 1989. Overview The Daybreak ran the GlobalView, ViewPoint (later GlobalView) Graphical user interface, GUI and was used extensively througho ...
(a.k.a. Xerox Windows 6085)


References


Further reading

*Michael A. Hiltzik, ''Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age'' (
HarperCollins HarperCollins Publishers LLC is one of the Big FiveBig Five may refer to: Animals * the Big five game, Big Five, large African wild animals said to be most difficult to hunt: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo * Big Five an ...
, New York, 1999) *Douglas K. Smith, Robert C. Alexander, ''Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer'' (
William Morrow and Company William Morrow and Company is an American publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the distributi ...
, New York, 1988) *M. Mitchell Waldrop, ''The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal'' (
Viking Penguin Viking Press (formally Viking Penguin, also listed as Viking Books) is an American publishing company now owned by Penguin Random House Penguin Random House LLC is a Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate publishing company formed ...

Viking Penguin
, New York, 2001) *
Howard Rheingold Howard Rheingold (born 1947) is an American critic, writer, and teacher, known for his specialties on the cultural, social and political implications of modern communication media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media ( ...

Howard Rheingold
, ''
Tools for Thought''Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology'' is a work of "retrospective futurism" in which Smart Mobs author Howard Rheingold looked at the history of computing and then attempted to predict what the networked world mig ...
'' (
MIT Press The MIT Press is a university press A university press is an academic publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the ...
, 2000) *Todd R. Weiss,
Xerox PARC turns 40: Making four decades of tech innovation
Computerworld, 2010


External links


PARC official websiteOral history interview with Terry Allen Winograd
Charles Babbage Institute The Charles Babbage Institute is a research center at the University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (the U of M or Minnesota) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in the Mi ...
,
University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (the U of M or Minnesota) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organ ...

University of Minnesota
, Minneapolis
Oral history interview with Paul A. Strassmann
Charles Babbage Institute The Charles Babbage Institute is a research center at the University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (the U of M or Minnesota) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in the Mi ...
,
University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (the U of M or Minnesota) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organ ...

University of Minnesota
, Minneapolis
Oral history interview with William Crowther
Charles Babbage Institute The Charles Babbage Institute is a research center at the University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (the U of M or Minnesota) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in the Mi ...
,
University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (the U of M or Minnesota) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organ ...

University of Minnesota
, Minneapolis {{Authority control PARC History of human–computer interaction Software companies based in the San Francisco Bay Area Technology transfer Research organizations in the United States Companies based in Palo Alto, California Technology companies established in 1970 Software companies of the United States Science and technology in the San Francisco Bay Area Research and development in the United States Corporate spin-offs 1970 establishments in California