Friday, 18 November 2011

J. C. R. Licklider From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Respect

J. C. R. Licklider

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Licklider)

Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider
Born March 11, 1915
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Died June 26, 1990 (aged 75)
Arlington, Massachusetts
Nationality United States American
Other names J.C.R
"Computing's Johnny Appleseed"
Education Washington University in St. Louis
University of Rochester
Known for Cybernetics/Interactive computing
"Intergalactic Computer Network" (Internet)
Artificial Intelligence

Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (March 11, 1915 – June 26, 1990), known simply as J.C.R. or "Lick" was an American computer scientist, considered one of the most important figures incomputer science and general computing history. He is particularly remembered for being one of the first to forsee modern-style interactive computing, and its application to all manner of activities; and also as an Internet pioneer, with an early vision of a world-wide computer network long before it was built. He did much to actually initiate all that through his funding of research which led to a great deal of it, including today's canonical graphical user interface, and the ARPANET, the direct predecessor to the Internet.

"More than a decade will pass before personal computers emerge from the garages of Silicon Valley, and a full thirty years before the Internet explosion of the 1990s. The word computerstill has an ominous tone, conjuring up the image of a huge, intimidating device hidden away in an overlit, air-conditioned basement, relentlessly processing punch cards for some large institution: them.
"Yet, sitting in a non-descript office in McNamara's Pentagon, a quiet .. civilian is already planning the revolution that will change forever the way computers are perceived. Somehow, the occupant of that office .. has seen a future in which computers will empower individuals, instead of forcing them into rigid conformity. He is almost alone in his conviction that computers can become not just superfast calculating machines, but joyful machines: tools that will serve as new media of expression, inspirations to creativity, and gateways to a vast world of online information."[1]

He has been called "computing's Johnny Appleseed", for having planted the seeds of computing in the digital age. Robert Taylor, founder of Xerox PARC's Computer Science Laboratory and Digital Equipment Corporation's Systems Research Center, noted that "most of the significant advances in computer technology—including the work that my group did at Xerox PARC—were simply extrapolations of Lick's vision. They were not really new visions of their own. So he was really the father of it all."[2]




Licklider was born March 11, 1915, in St. Louis, MissouriUSA.[3] He was the only child of Joseph Parron Licklider, a Baptist minister, and Margaret Robnett Licklider.[4] He displayed early engineering talent, building model airplanes. He carried on with his hobby of refurbishing automobiles throughout his life.

He studied at Washington University in St. Louis, where he received a BA in 1937, majoring in physicsmathematics and psychology, and an MA in psychology in 1938. He received a PhD in psychoacoustics from the University of Rochester in 1942, and worked at the Psycho-Acoustic Laboratory at Harvard University from 1943 to 1950.

He became interested in information technology, and moved to MIT in 1950 as an associate professor, where he served on a committee that established MIT Lincoln Laboratory and established a psychology program for engineering students.

In 1957 he received the Franklin V. Taylor Award from the Society of Engineering Psychologists. In 1958, he was elected President of theAcoustical Society of America, and in 1990 he received the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service.[5]

In 1957, he became a Vice President at Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc., where he bought the first production PDP-1 computer and conducted the first public demonstration of time-sharing.

In October 1962, Licklider was appointed head of the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) at ARPA, the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

In 1963, he was named Director of Behavioral Sciences Command & Control Research at ARPA. In April of that year, he sent a memo to his colleagues in which he outlined the early challenges presented in trying to establish a time-sharing network of computers with the software of the era.[6] Ultimately, his vision led to ARPANet, the precursor of today's Internet.

In 1968, J.C.R. Licklider became director of Project MAC at MIT, and a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Project MAC had produced the first computer time-sharing system, CTSS, and one of the first online setups with the development of Multics (work on which commenced in 1964). Multics provided inspiration for some elements of the Unix operating system developed at Bell Labs by Ken Thompson andDennis Ritchie in 1970.

He retired and became Professor Emeritus in 1985. He died in 1990 in Arlington, Massachusetts.[5]



In the psychoacoustics field, Licklider is most remembered for his 1951 "Duplex Theory of Pitch Perception," presented in a paper[7] that has been cited hundreds of times,[8] was reprinted in a 1979 book,[9] and formed the basis for modern models of pitch perception.[10]

[edit]Semi-Automatic Ground Environment

A SAGE operator's terminal

He worked on a Cold War project known as Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (better known by its acronym "SAGE"), designed to create a computer-aided air defense system. The SAGE system included computers that collected and presented data to a human operator, who then chose the appropriate response.

[edit]Information technology

Licklider became interested in information technology early in his career. Much like Vannevar Bush, J.C.R. Licklider's contribution to the development of the Internet consists of ideas, not inventions. He foresaw the need for networked computers with easy user interfaces.

His ideas foretold of graphical computing, point-and-click interfaces, digital libraries, e-commerce, online banking, and software that would exist on a network and migrate wherever it was needed.

Licklider was instrumental in conceiving, funding and managing the research that led to modern personal computers and the Internet. His seminal paper on Man-Computer Symbiosis foreshadowed interactive computing, and he went on to fund early efforts in time-sharing and application development, most notably the work of Douglas Engelbart, who founded the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute and created the famous On-Line System where the computer mouse was invented.

[edit]Project MAC

During his two-year term of office at IPTO, he granted funding to develop Project MAC at MIT, a large mainframe computer that was designed to be shared by up to 30 simultaneous users, each sitting at a separate typewriter terminal. He also granted funding to similar projects at Stanford UniversityUCLAUC Berkeley, and the System Development Corporation.

[edit]Global computer network

Licklider played a similar role in conceiving of and funding early networking research, most notably the ARPAnet. He formulated the earliest ideas of a global computer network in August 1962 at BBN, in a series of memos discussing the "Intergalactic Computer Network" concept. These ideas contained almost everything that the Internet is today.

While at IPTO, he would then convince Ivan SutherlandBob Taylor, and Lawrence G. Roberts that an all-encompassing computer network was a very important concept.

His paper The Computer as a Communication Device, Science and Technology, April 1968, illustrates his vision of network applications, and predicts the use of computer networks to support communities of common interest and collaboration without regard to location.

Licklider submitted the paper Televistas: Looking ahead through side windows to the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television in 1967. In this paper, he describes a radical departure from the "broadcast" model of television. Instead, he advocates a two-way communications network. The Carnegie Commission led to the creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Although the Carnegie Commission's report explains that "Dr. Licklider's paper was completed after the Commission had formulated its own conclusions," President Johnson said at the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967] "So I think we must consider new ways to build a great network for knowledge-not just a broadcast system, but one that employs every means of sending and of storing information that the individual can use."[11]

[edit]Man–computer symbiosis

In 1960, Licklider wrote his famous paper Man–Computer Symbiosis, which outlined the need for simpler interaction between computers and computer users. Licklider has been credited as an early pioneer of cybernetics and artificial intelligence (AI).[12] Unlike many AI practitioners, Licklider never felt that men would be replaced by computer-based beings. As he wrote in that article: "Men will set the goals, formulate the hypotheses, determine the criteria, and perform the evaluations. Computing machines will do the routinizable work that must be done to prepare the way for insights and decisions in technical and scientific thinking."[citation needed]


Licklider has written several articles and books:

  • 1942. An Electrical Investigation of Frequency-Localization in the Auditory Cortex of the Cat. Ph.D. Thesis University of Rochester 194.2
  • 1965. Libraries of the future. Cambridge, Mass., M.I.T. Press

Articles, a selection:


  1. ^ Waldrop, M. Mitchell (2001). The Dream Machine: J. C. R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal. New York: Viking Penguin. pp. dust jacket. ISBN 0-670-89976-3.'
  2. ^ Waldrop, op. cit., pg. 470
  3. ^ Internet Pioneers: J.C.R. Licklider, retrieved online: 2009-05-19
  4. ^ Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider 1915—1990, A Biographical Memoir by Robert M. Fano, National Academies Press, Washington D.C., 1998
  5. a b Jay R. Hauben. "JCR Licklider (1915-1990)". Columbia University. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  6. ^ J. C. R. Licklider (April 23, 1963). "Memorandum For: Members and Affiliates of the Intergalactic Computer Network; Topics for Discussion at the Forthcoming Meeting". Washington, D.C.: Advanced Research Projects Agency. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  7. ^ Licklider, J. C. R. (1951). "A duplex theory of pitch perception." Experientia (Basel) 7, 4, 128–134.
  8. ^ "Google Scholar".
  9. ^ Earl D. Schubert (1979). Physiological Acoustics. Stroudsburg PA: Dowden, Hutchinson, and Ross, Inc..
  10. ^ R. D. Patterson, J. Holdsworth, and M. Allerhand (1992). "Auditory Models as Preprocessors for Speech Recognition". In Marten Egbertus Hendrik Schouten. The Auditory Processing of Speech: From Sounds to Words. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3110135892.
  11. ^ Johnson, Lyndon B. (November 7, 1967). "Remarks of President Lyndon B. Johnson Upon Signing the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967". Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  12. ^ "J.C.R. Licklider". The History of Computing Project. July 8, 2001. Retrieved August 7, 2011.

[edit]Further reading

[edit]External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: J. C. R. Licklider