Douglas Engelbart (January 30, 1925 – July 2, 2013) was an American engineer and inventor, and an early computer and Internet pioneer. He is best known for his work on founding the field of human-computer interaction, which resulted in the invention of the computer mouse, and the development of hypertext, networked computers and precursors to graphical user interfaces (bitmapped screens). These were demonstrated at The Mother of All Demos in 1968. The underlying technologies of the demonstration influenced both the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems in the 1980s and 1990s. Engelbart’s Law, the observation that the intrinsic rate of human performance is exponential, is named after him.
Engelbart was born in Portland, Oregon, and graduated from Oregon State College in Corvallis in 1948. As someone who has worked at Oregon State University for over 11 years now, I can say that Engelbart is considered one of the luminaries of the institution; he’s up there with Linus Pauling. The OSU Alumni Association has a nice story on Engelbart: “Up Close and Personal: Inventor of the Computer Mouse.”