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Xerox PARC

Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) is the flagship research division of the Xerox Corporation. It is based in Palo Alto, California, USA, and was founded in 1970.

PARC's founding director, George Pake, was an outstanding physicist in the area of nuclear magnetic resonance. Dr. Pake had been serving as provost of Washington University in 1969 when he was courted by Jack Goldman, Chief Scientist at Xerox. If Jack Goldman was chiefly responsible for Xerox founding, and generously funding, a research center, then George Pake was chiefly responsible for siting PARC in Palo Alto -- 3,000 miles away from Xerox headquarters.

Xerox PARC was the birthplace of many aspects of modern computing, including many aspects of the Graphical user interface (GUI), the mouse **, the WYSIWYG text editor, the laser printer, the desktop computer, Smalltalk the programming language, resolution-independent graphical page description languages (the precursors to PostScript), and Ethernet.

Some believe PARC and its partisans have claimed undue credit for things which PARC did not, in fact, invent. It is true that PARC invented or developed certain things which it failed to bring to the masses. For example, the modern GUI was developed at Xerox PARC, but commercialized first by Apple and then by Microsoft. This was due to Xerox management consistently failing to see the potential of these inventions; this has become the stuff of modern business legends. It was said that the top management of Xerox had their minds so fixed on the photocopier business, and inventions they could directly apply to it, that they lacked the vision to turn the great inventions coming out of PARC into products.

On January 4, 2002, Xerox PARC was incorporated as an independent company.

** Xerox adapted the invention of the mouse from SRI (Stanford Research Institute), of Menlo Park, California.

External link Xerox PARC (http://www.parc.com/)



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