Dan Ingalls

Daniel Henry Holmes Ingalls Jr. (born 1944) is a pioneer of object-oriented computer programming and the principal architect, designer and implementer of five generations of Smalltalk environments. He designed the bytecoded virtual machine that made Smalltalk practical in 1976. He also invented bit blit, the general-purpose graphical operation that underlies most bitmap graphics systems today, and pop-up menus. He designed the generalizations of BitBlt to arbitrary color depth, with built-in scaling, rotation, and anti-aliasing. His major contributions to the Squeak system include the original concept of a Smalltalk written in itself and made portable and efficient by a Smalltalk-to-C translator.

Daniel Henry Holmes Ingalls Jr.
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materHarvard University, Stanford University
Known forBit blit
Pop-up menus
object-oriented programming
Fabrik visual programming language
Lively Kernel
AwardsACM Grace Murray Hopper Award (1984)
ACM Software Systems Award
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
InstitutionsXerox PARC
Apple Inc. ATG
Interval Research Corporation
Walt Disney Imagineering
Hewlett-Packard Labs
Sun Microsystems Labs


Ingalls received his B.A. in Physics from Harvard University, and his M.S. in Electrical engineering from Stanford University. While working toward a Ph.D. at Stanford, he started a company to sell a software measurement invention that he perfected, and never returned to academia.


Ingalls' first well known research was at Xerox PARC, where he began a lifelong research association with Alan Kay, and did his award-winning work on Smalltalk. He then moved to Apple Inc. He left research for a time to run the family business, the Homestead Resort, in Hot Springs, Virginia.[2] He then worked at Interval Research Corporation, and then returned to Apple. Starting at Xerox, and then at Apple, he developed Fabrik, a visual programming environment consisting of a kit of computational and user interface components that can be "wired" together to build new components and useful applications.

Then he moved to Hewlett-Packard Labs, where he developed a module architecture for Squeak. He also started and still operates a small firm, Weather Dimensions Inc., which displays local weather data on home computers.

Ingalls then worked as a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems, where he worked in the Sun Labs research wing. His latest project is a JavaScript environment called Lively Kernel, which allows live, interactive Web programming and objects from inside Web browsers.

While best known for his work on Smalltalk, Ingalls is also known for developing an optical character recognition system for Devanagari writing, which he did at the instigation of his father, Daniel H. H. Ingalls, Sr., a professor of Sanskrit.[3]

He lives near the beach in Rio del Mar/Aptos, California with his wife Cathleen Galas, where he contributes to development of the Squeak implementation of Smalltalk, JavaScript research, and the Lively Kernel Project, which now resides at the Hasso Plattner Institute.

Ingalls has most recently moved to SAP Palo Alto Research Center, as a Fellow. He is a key member of the Chief Scientist team guiding the company's technology vision, direction, and execution.


In 1984, Ingalls received the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award for Outstanding Young Scientist, for his Xerox PARC research, including bit blit.[4] In 1987, with Alan Kay, and Adele Goldberg, he received the ACM Software System Award, for his work on Smalltalk, the first fully object-oriented software system.[5] In 2002, he was co-recipient, with Adele Goldberg, of the Dr. Dobb's Excellence in Programming award.[6]



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