screenshot of Doug during the 1968 demo
Click here to watch the demo
at the Stanford University MouseSite

Doug's 1968 Demo0

On December 9th, 1968 Doug Engelbart appeared on stage at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco to give his slated presentation, titled "A Research Center for Augmenting Human Intellect," where he spent the next 90 minutes not only telling about his work, but demonstrating it live to a spellbound audience that filled the hall. 1

Instead of standing at a podium, he was seated at a custom designed console, where he drove his presentation through his NLS computer residing 30 miles away in his research lab at Stanford Research Institute, onto a large projection screen overhead, flipping seamlessly between his presentation outline and live demo of features, while video teleconferencing members of his research lab linking in from SRI in shared screen mode to demonstrate more of the system. 2

This seminal demonstration came to be known as "The Mother of All Demos."


Overhead shot of Doug driving the demo, superimposed on the demo projection screen
  

Watch the demo:

Read the paper: This "Mother of all Demos" was technically a talk presented at a conference. See the paper submitted to the conference proceedings to accompany Doug's presentation, A Research Center for Augmenting Human Intellect, by Doug Engelbart and Bill English, in Proceedings of the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference, San Francisco, CA, December 9, 1968, Vol. 33, pp. 395-410 (AUGMENT,3954,).

See also the poster announcing Doug's talk, the conference proceedings table of contents [pdf|html], and archive photos from the event. 2

Note that most of what Doug and his team presented in 1968 was developed literally "from scratch" by a handful of researchers in the space of four years.

Reflecting on the 1968 Demo3

Many very rich resources are available to learn more about the making of the demo, the system being demonstrated, how and why it was conceived and evolved, its significance, and what it was like working in Doug's innovative lab at that point in time. 3a

Doug and His Team 3b

Screenshot: Doug's 1986 Presentation  

Doug's Presentation at ACM Conference: January 1986
Event: ACM Conference on the History of the Personal Workstation (1986)
Watch Doug's 1986 presentation titled Workstation History and The Augmented Knowledge Workshop, telling the story of his 1968 demo, the work surrounding it, and the vision it represented, with historic photos and personal anecdotes woven throughout. 3b1

Two fabulous anniversary events were later held to commemorate the demo, with panel discussions by Doug, members of his research team who participated in the 1968 demo, and invited guests discussing what it took to put on the demo that day, what it was like behind the scenes, and the significance of the work they were doing then and now. 3b2

Screenshot: 30th Anniversary Panel

A 30th Anniversary Event: December 9, 1998
Event:Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution (1998)
Watch the 1998 Panel Discussion with Doug and members of his research team Jeff Rulifson, Bill English, Charles Irby, with special guest Stuart Brand and moderator Paul Saffo discussing the demo and its significance. Visit the 30th Anniversary event website for more about the event and to watch more sessions. 3b3

Screenshot: 40th Anniversary Panel  

A 40th Anniversary Event: December 9, 2008
Event: Engelbart and the Dawn of Interactive Computing (2008)
Watch the 2008 Panel Discusssion [Part 1 | Part 2] with members of Doug's research team Jeff Rulifson, Bill English, Don Andrews, Bill Paxton, together with special guest Andy van Dam and moderator Bob Sproull discussing the demo and its significance. Visit the 40th Anniversary event website for more about the event and to watch more sessions. 3b4

For more background, program information, and related links, see our Videography and Engelbart Archive Collection pages. 3b5

Colleagues and Press 3c

Watch the other speakers and panelists at the two events reflecting on the 1968 Demo, luminaries such as Curt Carlson, Denise Caruso, Andy van Dam, Chuck House, Robert Taylor, John Markoff, Ted Nelson, Alan Kay, Paul Saffo, Bob Sproull, and more [40th Anniv Sessions | 30th Anniv. Sessions]. 3c1

The 40th anniversary of the 1968 demo was marked by many articles reflecting on the demo -- see 40th Anniversary Press for recommended articles and interviews by Patricia Seybold, Paul Saffo, Maggie Shiels, and others. Or browse our Press Clippings page for a more comprehensive collection of links dating back in time. 3c2

See also this mid-1990s description of the demo by Brown University Center for Graphics and Visualization, Douglas Engelbart and 'The Mother of All Demos'. Andy van Dam, a principal investigator at the Center, attended the 1968 demo and was a guest speaker at both the 30th and 40th Anniversary events. 3c3

Student Projects 3d



  

The Mother of All Demos: An Animated Commentary
In 2009 a Freshman at Baylor University by the name of Philip Heinrich produced an impressive 5 minute video capturing the essence of Doug's goals and vision, combining audio from the 1968 demo with his own animation, which he titled "The Mother of All Demos: An Animated Commentary". Read about the project, the student, and the course and professor he produced it for on our Student Showcase page which includes links to the video on YouTube and to other projects he has authored. 3d1



See Also 4

From the Internet 4a

  • Visit MouseSite - the definitive website on the 1968 Demo (as well as the history of the Mouse) hosted by Stanford University.
  • 4a1

  • "The Mother of All Demos" (90 min Video/Film) Doug's 1968 debut of NLS (Augment's precursor) including hypermedia, the mouse, collaborative work, interactive computing, human computer interface, and overarching guiding principles. See especially Clip 12 where Doug, sitting in San Francisco, brings in a coworker sitting in his lab in Menlo Park, to demonstrate the mouse, and Clip 13 where Doug introduces the keyset.
  • 4a2

     

From Doug's Lab4b

  • A Research Center for Augmenting Human Intellect. (the paper written for the conference where they gave the demo, describing the work they were demoing). Douglas C. Engelbart and William K. English, AFIPS Conference Proceedings of the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference, San Francisco, CA, 33, December 1968, pp. 395-410 (AUGMENT,3954,). Republished with articles No. 4, 21, and 23 in "Computer Supported Cooperative Work: A Book of Readings," Irene Greif [Ed.], Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc., San Mateo, CA, 1988, pp. 81-105. See also Engelbart's videotaped presentation from this historic 1968 conference "A Research Center for Augmenting Human Intellect."
  • 4b1

  • Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. (Doug's seminal report documenting his strategic vision that drove the work) Douglas C. Engelbart, Summary Report, Stanford Research Institute, on Contract AF 49(638)-1024, October 1962, 134 pages (AUGMENT,133182,).
  • 4b2

  • Workstation History and The Augmented Knowledge Workshop. Douglas C. Engelbart, Proceedings of the ACM Conference on the History of Personal Workstations, Palo Alto, CA, January 9-10, 1986, pp. 73-83 (AUGMENT,101931,). Republished as The Augmented Knowledge Workshop in "A History of Personal Workstations," Adele Goldberg [Ed.], ACM Press, New York, 1988, pp. 185-236.
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