Viewpoints Research Institute
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Viewpoints Research Institute (VPRI) was a nonprofit public benefit organization initiated by Alan Kay. Incorporated in 2001 and closed in 2018, it aimed to improve "powerful ideas education" for the world's children and to advance the state of systems research and personal computing. Many of the institute's themes co-evolved with the inventions of networked personal computers, graphical user interfaces and dynamic object-oriented programming.
Its globally dispersed research group came from a tradition of whole systems design developed by ARPA (now DARPA) in the sixties and Xerox PARC in the seventies. Its ideology was motivated by user-centered systems design. Using this vantage point, the group invented computing technologies, content, curriculum, graphical user interfaces (GUIs), programming languages, implementation systems and processor and memory structures.
The Viewpoints Research Institute has produced, contributed to, or maintained several pieces of software. These include:
- Etoys (programming language) A fully programmable graphical environment written in Smalltalk, to help teach programming to children
- ChalkBoard An interactive, online document writing environment
- COLA (software architecture) An attempt to produce a scalable, self-describing, self-hosting, extensible software architecture in the (conceptually) simplest way possible.
- JOHN A goal-oriented programming language
- Jitblt A digital compositing engine using just-in-time compilation
- OMeta A generalisation of parsing expression grammars which allow arbitrary input and can be extended in an object-oriented way
- LYSP A tiny implementation of Lisp (programming language)
- STEPS (STEPS Toward Expressive Programming Systems) - working environment implemented in 20 thousand lines of code
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