The 1968 Demo - Interactive

Experience the complete "Mother of All Demos" interactively.
Presented by Doug Engelbart and his team at the FJCC December 9th, 1968.
CLICK on any frame or section.


"A Research Center for Augmenting the Human Intellect" presentation production notes.
Opening Remarks
Doug welcomes the audience to this "unusual setting."
NLS Editing & View Control
Doug shows basic interactive editing and jumping, employing optional views taking advantage of the hierarchical structure, using a verb-noun command language.
NLS Hypermedia
Doug flips between text and graphical views, easily traversing the information.
Putting it to Work
Shifting from illustrative material, to the real working stuff. We use this system to do our daily work. More on this later from Jeff.


[slight detour] | NOTE: The research agenda stems from Doug's Conceptual Framework, covered here under Goals, Approach, and For Augmenting Human Intellect.
The Augmented Human Intellect Research Center (AHIRC) | Located within SRI | Staffed by 17 people | Sponsored by government agencies.
1. Improve effectiveness of individuals and organizations to work at intellectual tasks: better/faster solutions, to more complex problems, with better use of human capabilities.
2. Develop a system-oriented discipline for designing the means by which greater effectiveness is achieved.
Our strategic approach: EMPIRICAL | EVOLUTIONARY | WHOLE-SYSTEM | BOOTSTRAPPING; for steepest ascent


For Augmenting Human Intellect
NLS is an instrument/vehicle for helping humans to operate within the domain of complex information structures.
By "operate" we mean compose, study, modify | For "complex structures" where content represents concepts, and structure represents relationships of human-thought, generally too complex for direct human study.
Where linear text falls short, here we can represent structures within a computer, you can move about rapidly, and see what you want to see in any given moment.
These together with the bootstrapping told us where to start: building an instrument we can use day to day to organize the working information we need as a task force developing systems [to advance our learning and steep ascent].


Diving into the implementation, beginning with control techniques.
Control Devices
1. Mouse:* A pointing device with control buttons, shown by Don Andrews [*live from Menlo Park].
2. Keyboard: Standard keyboard plus a few control keys
3. Keyset: To enter text or commands while other hand is busy with the mouse; 5 keys offer 31 keystroke combinations and more [end of Reel #1]
Control Dialog [begin Reel #2 - audio resumes @0:22]
Using repertoire of command verbs and nouns with feedback from the system (e.g. typing "dw" causes 'Delete Word") | single-stroke viewspecs | driving with both hands.
Control Metalanguage
To provide for each user's preferences and proficiencies with their particular devices and repertoire of control dialog; more on this later from Jeff Rulifson.


Hardware Design
1. Workstation Controller: SDS 940 extensions include Disc Storage, Display Systems (for 6 displays), Input Controller, Printer & ARPANetwork Coupling | Covers basic operation
2. Display System:* [*live from Menlo Park] the computer displays image on 5" screen (now displaying what's on Doug's console), dedicated TV camera generates a video signal out to user console; service for 12 consoles
NLS Software Design
Program Structure:* Jeff Rulifson [*live from Menlo Park] gives a tour of the NLS software environment, using the same commands for navigating the structure
Languages: Content Analyzer and MOL, plus a compiler-compiler, can easily edit any of them for rapid prototyping | System Guide: while here, Jeff shows notes they leave for each other, and how NLS tracks user edits
Doug asks go back to the command metalanguage, to walk through the dialog protocol as a case example; the code is intuitive to the user, a training aid of sorts.


Doug recaps Software Programming as an excellent usage case example.
Application Examples
User documentation | Paper Studying | Printout Directives [skips] | Joint File Usage [end of Reel #2]
Application Examples (cont) [begin Reel #3]
Open House Duty Roster | Hardware Design Documentation | System Analysis Records
Collaboration Support*
NLS is tool for individuals and collaboration, including video conference
*Bill Paxton beams in, a "bug fight" ensues.
Information Retrieval*
Bill Paxton demonstrates "Hot" Retrieval where the destination is known, and "Cold" Retrieval where it's unknown | both direct and indirect


System Development
Service System Development | User System Development (touches on these briefly) | the two are explicitly separate
Management System
We're developing our own set of management tools to help us manage our staff and all these activities.
ARPA Network
A computer network coming online next year, networking computers across the country with sufficient bandwidth to operate like this remotely.
Network Information Center
For the network we're developing in NLS a special service to provide information about the sites, the services available, contact info, etc.
Our "Product"
A sample Augmentation System | An Augmentation System for augmenting computer-system development | Design principles for developing Augmentation Systems


AHI Supporting Staff
Producer: Bill English - special thanks for pulling this all together | Supporting Staff: Ed van de Riet, Martin Hardy, Roger Bates, John Yarborough, Steve Paavola |
Event Coordinator: Dave Evans |
Presenters: Don Andrews, Jeff Rulifson, Bill Paxton for all their hard work preparing and presenting
Others Giving Support
SRI - general support | Stewart Brand, Portola Institute | John Dusterberry, Ames Research Lab NACA (Eidophor projector) | Eugene Warren, T&T Communications | Tasker Instruments
Herman Miller Research - special thanks for this custom display console, and for their ongoing collaboration.
In Closing
Special thanks again to the tremendous AHI team | Special thanks and dedication of this whole presentation to Doug's wife and kids.

About this Experience 9

Experiencing the Demo Interactively—

Experience this "Mother of All Demos" presented by Doug Engelbart and team December 9th, 1968 at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, California. Click on any frame or section to navigate the presentation. For some background on the making of the demo and other ways to watch the demo see Doug's 1968 Demo or simply -- includes photos, writings, and other gems from the archives, with links to special exhibits at Stanford Special Collections, the Computer History Museum, the Smithsonian, and more. For more on Doug's vision for the future, see our virtual Engelbart Academy.

Film footage copyright SRI International, remastered and curated by Stanford Libraries Special Collections, and digitally archived on Internet Archive in the Engelbart Video Collection.

About the Project Creating this Experience—

A collaboration between Christina Engelbart ( DEI) and Bret Victor (HARC)

Along the lines of Doug's vision to leverage information technology in a way that augments our intellect, we combined Doug's outline from his on-screen presentation, Christina's detailed index and description, and Bret's wizardry in the form of his video digest tool and player format -- an attempt as he would say "to 'explode' a demo-driven talk into a skimmable, browsable, gistable form, where individual ideas can be quickly referenced later."

For inspiration see Bret's seminal talk Media for Thinking the Unthinkable which inspired a project at UC Berkeley to develop an experimental Video Digest tool.

We dedicate this demo experience to our hero Doug Engelbart