The Mother of all Demos

Original announcement of the 1968 Demo; Copyright © 2008 Doug Engelbart Institute; Click for larger view

The Mother of All Demos is a name given retroactively to a demonstration of experimental computer technologies presented by  Douglas Engelbart and the group of 17 researchers working with him in the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA, on December 9, 1968. The public presentation of the online system NLS they had been working on since 1962 was a session of the Fall Joint Computer Conference held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, and it was attended by about 1,000 computer professionals. The 90-minute live demonstration featured the introduction of the computer mouse, video conferencing, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, hypermedia, object addressing and dynamic file linking, bootstrapping, and a collaborative real-time editor.

A 100 minutes video of the demo of 1968 is available at the Engelbart Collection in the Special Collections of Stanford University. The original video has been edited into 35 segments and reformatted as Flash streaming video clips. There is a brief abstract of the subject matter treated in each segment.

Many rich resources about the 1968 demo are available at the website of Doug Engelbert’s Institute to learn more about the making of hte demo, the system being demonstrated, how and why it was conceived and evolved, the significance of it, and what it was like being on the team working in Doug’s innovative lab at that point in time.