Proclamatio

prof. Umberto Mura
Preside, Facoltà di Scienze M.F.N.

In the 70s Alan Kay conceived the idea of using computers as "personal and dynamic media", and gave rise to the concepts and ideas, besides contributing to their realization, of what will become the "personal computer" which is used today in a wide range of applications.

In the early 70s, he developed the concept of "Dynabook", which represented an ideal personal computer. Dynabook was conceived as a computer that could be used easily by anyone " including a child " it was a portable and it could be connected to a wireless network. The idea represented a radical paradigm shift with respect to the computer of those das and to the ways to use them.

To transform his concept into reality, Dr. Kay contributed to the design and development of the Alto personal computer at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). The Alto already included all the main features common to modern personal computers. In particular, Dr. Kay was involved in the design of the innovative visual interface for controlling a computer with gestures and the mouse, through icons and overlapping windows, which forms the basis of current Graphical User Interface (GUI). In the area of software, Dr. Kay invented Smalltalk, one of he first object-oriented programming languages, and its sophisticated integrated visual programming environment. The effectiveness of programming using and composing objects had a significant impact not only in the design of programming languages, but gave also a significant contribution to the general technology for developing today complex information systems.

Dr. Kay understood that computers could give a significant contribution to learning, and dedicated a large portion of his studies to learning, especially in children. He leads projects to teach children in schools the principles of software and the mental processes for building systems so that they can learn to use them without much effort. He aims at guiding children through the stages of their mental development in order to nurture in them the fundamental abilities to become individuals capable of exploiting the potentials of the information society.

Through more than 30 year of personal dedication to realize his vision and inspiring its refinements, Dr. Kay has provided a dream to fulfill to the computer developers and has given fundamental contributions to the impressive expansion of computer applications, changing the way we perform today most intellectual, creative, social and economic activities.

For these reasons, the Consiglio della FacoltÓ di Scienze Matematiche, Fisiche e Naturali proposes to the Senato Accademico to assign a laurea specialistica honoris causa in Informatica to Alan Curtis Kay.