Charles P. Thacker

Charles P. Thacker

Thacker worked in the 1970s and 1980s at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where he served as project leader of the Xerox Alto personal computer system, was co-inventor of the Ethernet LAN, and contributed to many other projects, including the first laser printer.

In 1983, Thacker was a founder of the Systems Research Center (SRC) at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), and in 1997, he joined Microsoft Research to help establish Microsoft's research lab in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

After returning to the United States, Thacker designed the hardware for Microsoft's Tablet PC, based on his experience with the "interim Dynabook" at PARC, and later the Lectrice, a pen-based hand-held computer at DEC SRC.

In 1994 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.

In 2004, he won the Charles Stark Draper Prize together with Alan C. Kay, Butler W. Lampson, and Robert W. Taylor.

In 2007 he won the IEEE John von Neumann medal for "a central role in the creation of the personal computer and the development of networked computer systems."

Thacker holds an honorary doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and is a Technical fellow at Microsoft.

Charles P. Thacker was also the winner of the 2009 ACM A.M. Turing Award for his pioneering design and realization of the Alto, the first modern personal computer, and the prototype for networked personal computers.  Thacker's design, which he built while at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), reflected a new vision of a self-sufficient, networked computer on every desk, equipped with innovations that are standard in today's models.  Thacker was also cited for his contributions to the Ethernet local area network, which enables multiple computers to communicate and share resources, as well as the first multiprocessor workstation, and the prototype for today's most used tablet PC, with its capabilities for direct user interaction.  The Turing Award, widely considered the "Nobel Prize in Computing", is named for the British mathematician Alan M. Turing.  The award carries a $250,000 prize, with financial support provided by Intel Corporation and Google Inc. 

"Charles Thacker's contributions have earned him a reputation as one of the most distinguished computer systems engineers in the history of the field," said ACM President Professor Dame Wendy Hall.  "His enduring achievements -- from his initial innovations on the PC to his leadership in hardware development of the multiprocessor workstation to his role in developing the tablet PC -- have profoundly affected the course of modern computing."




Photograph of Charles P. Thacker Click for a larger version

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