Augmentation Research Center

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The Augmentation Research Center (usually given as the acronym, ARC) was a research group started by Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute. It did ground-breaking work in the areas of user interfaces and applications.

Among their notable innovations were the invention of the mouse, 'cut and pasting' of text blocks, and hypertext. Ideas and people from ARC were key 'seeds' to the ground-breaking work done at Xerox PARC.

Its most significant creation was the oN-Line System (usually referred to as 'NLS'), built around the Berkeley Time-Sharing System, running on an SDS 940. The NLS was the centerpiece of the "Mother of All Demos", at the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference.

The group had an ARPANET host called SRI-ARC, which was initially a KA10. It was running a TENEX variant called August.

Further reading

  • Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing, Stanford University Press, 2000 - displays limited understanding of some of the technical concepts, but otherwise good
  • John Markoff, What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, Viking Press, 2005 - covers much else, but has good coverage of the history of ARC, and work there
  • M. Mitchell Waldrop, The Dream Machine, Viking Penguin, 2001 - Licklider, who had been thinking along the same lines, was an early backer of ARC