Inamori Foundation Awards Kyoto Prize to HP's Alan Kay

6/14/2004 - Alan Kay, HP Senior Fellow and one of the pioneers of personal computing, was named winner of the 2004 Kyoto Prize in advanced technology, his third major scientific award this year.

The Kyoto Prize, given by the Inamori Foundation and now in its 20th year, is considered one of the world's leading awards for lifetime achievement. It consists of a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately $450,000), a 20-karat gold medal and a diploma. Awards are given annually for advanced technology, basic sciences and arts, and philosophy.

Kay, who will receive the award at a Nov. 10 ceremony in Kyoto, Japan, was recognized for his work in the 1960s and '70s which opened the door for the personal computing revolution.

In February, Kay and three of his former colleagues from Xerox PARC - Butler W. Lampson, Robert W. Taylor and Charles P. Thacker - shared the National Academy of Engineering's 2004 Charles Stark Draper Prize for the development of the networked personal computer. The $500,000 award recognizes engineers whose accomplishments "have significantly benefited society."

Earlier this month, Kay received the Association of Computing Machinery's 2003 Turing Award for leading the team that invented Smalltalk, an influential programming language that used object-oriented concepts and for fundamental contributions to personal computing. The Turing Award carries a $100,000 cash award.

Both the Draper Prize and Turing Award are considered the equivalent of Nobel Prizes for their fields - engineering and computer science, respectively. The Nobel Prize does not recognize achievement in engineering or computer science.

"We are delighted that Alan continues to receive recognition for his achievements, which have contributed so much to the industry and to society in general," said Dick Lampman, senior vice president, research, and director, HP Labs, in which Kay works. "We are excited about his future contributions to HP and its tradition of technology that makes a difference for business and in people's lives."

The Inamori Foundation was established by Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corporation.

"Today we are rushing ahead with incredible scientific and technological achievements, while inquiry into our spiritual nature lags deplorably," said Inamori. "It is my hope that the Kyoto Prizes will encourage balanced development of both our scientific and our spiritual depth, and hence provide impetus toward the structuring of new philosophical paradigms."

Kay was one of the designers of an early personal computer in the '60s, the inventor of dynamic object-oriented programming and the overlapping window graphical user interface (GUI) and one of the designers of the Alto personal computer software.

His deep interest in children and education led him to use Smalltalk as an early vehicle for teaching computing concepts at the elementary school level. He used findings of cognitive psychology that showed children learn better if touch, images and symbols are combined with plain text.

One of his most famous quotes is: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

About HP
HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. For the four fiscal quarters ended April 30, 2004, HP revenue totaled $76.8 billion. More information about HP (NYSE, Nasdaq: HPQ) is available at

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