As part of the Net@40 year-long celebration at the Museum, Bob Taylor and NPR’s Guy Raz will share a stage to discuss the origins of the personal computer revolution and computer networking.
Bob Taylor planned to be a Methodist minister, like his father. He ended up an evangelist for an idea that changed the world: easy-to-use computers that talk to each other. “I was never interested in the computer as a mathematical device, but as a communication device,” Taylor said. Taylor’s interests – and his genius for getting them funded – helped develop computer networking, the personal computer, and many of the other technologies that drove the global computer revolution.
As director of ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques office, Taylor funded Doug Engelbart, inventor of the mouse and co-inventor of many of the aspects of computing we take for granted today, from clickable links to multiple windows. Taylor then hired networking pioneer Larry Roberts to oversee the ARPAnet project – the first major experiment in general computer networking, and a key ancestor of the Internet. As founder of the Xerox PARC Computer Systems Laboratory, Taylor went on to recruit and manage the hot-tempered brigade of geniuses who developed the set of features so familiar on our Mac and Windows machines today, including the graphical user interface, Ethernet and laser printing. He also oversaw important work in connecting networks to each other.
Taylor will talk about the process of fostering innovation and share stories of how radical ideas evolve in a discussion with Guy Raz, the weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered.
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA, 94043