Douglas Engelbart was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1925 and holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Oregon State University (1948) and an M.S. (1953) and Ph.D. (1955), also in electrical engineering, from UC Berkeley. After a stint as an assistant professor at Berkeley, he left for the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California, where he stayed for two decades.
While at SRI, Engelbart's most important work began with his 1959 founding of the Augmentation Research Center, where he developed some of the key technologies used in computing today. Engelbart brought the various strands of his research together for his "mother of all demos" in San Francisco on December 9, 1968, an event that presaged many of the technologies and computer-usage paradigms we would use decades later. His system, called NLS, showed actual instances of, or precursors to, hypertext, shared screen collaboration, multiple windows, on-screen video teleconferencing, and the mouse as an input device. This demo embodied Engelbart's lifelong commitment to solving humanity's urgent problems by using computers as tools to improve communication and collaboration between people.
Engelbart has authored over 25 publications, holds more than 20 patents, and has received many honors, including the National Medal of Technology (2000).