- Alan Kotok
name = Alan Kotok
image_width = 260px
caption = Kotok speaking in Boston in 2004. Photo: Richard Ishida
birth_date = birth date|1941|11|9|df=y
death_date = death date and age|2006|5|26|1941|11|9|df=y
Digital Equipment Corporation, World Wide Web Consortium
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Clark University
World Wide Web Consortium, Digital Equipment Corporation, Spacewar!, computer chess
spouse = Judith Kotok
:"This article is about Alan Kotok who was associate chair of
W3C. Alan B. Kotok who is the managing editor of Science Careers is also called Alan Kotok."
Alan Kotok (
November 9 1941– May 26 2006) was an American computer scientist. He was known for his contributions to the Internetand World Wide Webthrough his work at the World Wide Web Consortium(W3C), to computer engineeringthrough his work at Digital Equipment Corporation(DEC), and to gaming for his work on computer gameand computer chessprograms built at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT).
Kotok recorded a video oral history at the
Computer History Museumin 2004. Kotok also appears in cite book
last = Levy
first = Steven
title = Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
year = Updated
2 January, 2001
publisher = Penguin (Non-Classics)
id = ISBN 0-1410-0051-1] by
Kotok was born in 1941 in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniacite paper | author=Kotok, Alan | title=Oral History of Alan Kotok | publisher=Computer History Museum | date= 15 November 2004| url=http://archive.computerhistory.org/projects/chess/related_materials/oral-history/kotok.oral_history.2005.102630478/kotok.oral_history_transcript.2005.102630478.pdf | accessdate=2006-07-01|format=PDF] though his family lived in Vineland in southern New Jersey. He was an only child. By age 3, Kotok survived an inquiry into an electrical outlet with a screwdriver, and by age 6, he could build and wire household lamps.cite news | last=Marquard | first=Bryan | title=Alan Kotok; he tred vanguard of computers with brilliance, wit | work=The Boston Globe | publisher=The New York Times Company | date= 6 June 2006| url=http://www.boston.com/news/globe/obituaries/articles/2006/06/06/alan_kotok_he_tred_vanguard_of_computers_with_brilliance_wit | accessdate=2006-07-01] Kotok learned model railroadingat his father's hardwarestore. Kotok skipped two grades and started college at age 16.cite news | last=Markoff | first=John | title=Alan Kotok, 64, a Pioneer In Computer Video Games | work=The New York Times | date= 3 June 2006| url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/03/business/03kotok.html | accessdate=2006-07-01]
At MIT, Kotok earned bachelor's and master's degrees in
electrical engineering.cite web | title=W3C Folio | year=1999 | url=http://www.w3.org/Press/99Folio.pdf | accessdate=2006-07-01|format=PDF] He had influential teachers including Jack Dennisand John McCarthy. Kotok was a member of the Signals and Power Subcommittee of the Tech Model Railroad Club(TMRC) which he joined soon after starting college in 1958.
While a graduate student and member of TMRC, Dennis introduced his students to the
TX-0on loan to MIT indefinitely from Lincoln Laboratory. In the spring of 1959, McCarthy taught the first course in programming MIT offered to freshmen.gutenberg|no=729|name=Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution "by Steven Levy'] Outside classes, David Gross, Kotok, Peter Samson, Robert A. Saunders and Robert A. Wagner, all friends from TMRC, reserved time.cite video | people=Kotok, Alan | year=2006 | url = http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4995476926708958999&q=computer+history+dec | title = The Mouse That Roared: PDP-1 Celebration Event Lecture 05.15.06 | medium = Google Video| location=Mountain View, CA, USA | publisher=Computer History Museum | accessdate=2006-07-01. Kotok begins at 0:53:50.] They were able to use the TX-0 as a personal, single-usertool rather than a batch processingsystem, thanks to Dennis, faculty advisors and John McKenzie, the operations manager.cite web | author=TX-0 alumni reunion | title=The Computer Museum Report, Volume 8 | | date=Spring 1984 | url=http://www.ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/TheCompMusRep/TCMR-V08.html | accessdate=2006-07-01]
In September 1961cite web | title=Letter to Professor Peter Elias | author=Olsen, Kenneth H. | date=
15 Septemberdisplay. Dennis oversaw the PDP-1 lab, located next door to the TX-0. Students from TMRC worked as support staff, programming the new computer.
Elwyn Berlekamp, Kotok, Michael Lieberman, Charles Niessen and Wagner began to develop McCarthy's IBM 704chess-playing program in 1959. Kotok describes their work in MIT Artificial Intelligence Project Memo 41 and his bachelor's thesis. By the time "the chess group" graduated in 1962, their program played chess "comparable to an amateur with about 100 games experience" on an IBM 7090.cite web | last=Kotok | first=Alan | title=MIT Artificial Intelligence Memo 41 | date=undated, XHTML 3 December, 2004| url=http://www.kotok.org/AI_Memo_41.html | accessdate=2006-07-01] cite paper | last=Kotok | first=Alan | title=A Chess Playing Program for the IBM 7090 Computer | publisher=Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Electrical Engineering | year=1962 | url=http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/17406 | accessdate=2006-07-01]
Although they came to know a great deal about the game, neither Kotok nor McCarthy were known as chess players — later in life Kotok loved bridge.cite web | title=W3C mailing list archive for firstname.lastname@example.org | publisher=W3C | year=2006 | url=http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-memoria/2006Jun/ | accessdate=2006-07-01]
Mikhail Botvinnik, who was the world champion of chess three times, wrote in his book "Computers, Chess and Long-Range Planning" that the Kotok-McCarthy program's "rule for rejecting moves was so constituted that the machine threw the baby out with the bath water."cite journal | author=Abramson, Bruce | title=Control Strategies for Two-Player Games | journal=ACM Computing Surveys, Vol. 21, No. 2 | month=June | year=1989 | url=http://www.engr.uconn.edu/~acr/Courses/cse269-fa03/abra.pdf | accessdate=2006-07-02 | format=Dead link|date=May 2008] The program drew criticism from Richard Greenblattcite paper | author=Greenblatt, Richard D. | title=Oral History of Richard Greenblatt | publisher=Computer History Museum | date= 12 January 2005| url=http://archive.computerhistory.org/projects/chess/related_materials/oral-history/greenblatt.oral_history.2005.102634500/greenblatt.oral_history_transcript.2005.102634500.pdf | accessdate=2006-07-01|format=PDF] and more recently from Hans Berliner.cite paper | author=Berliner, Hans | title=Oral History of Hans Berliner | publisher=Computer History Museum | date= 7 March 2005| url=http://archive.computerhistory.org/projects/chess/related_materials/oral-history/hans_berliner.oral_history.2005.102630824/berliner.oral_history_transcript.2005.103630824.pdf | accessdate=2006-07-02|format=PDF] Yet in his [http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Lab/7378/comphis.htm Computer Chess History] , Bill Wall calls the MIT program the first to play chess credibly. During the Cold War, Kotok-McCarthyplayed the best Russian chess program in the first match between computer programs.cite video | people=McCarthy, John | url = http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1583888480148765375 | title = The History of Computer Chess: An AI Perspective | date = 8 September 2005| medium = Google Video| location=Mountain View, CA, USA | publisher=Computer History Museum | accessdate=2006-07-01. McCarthy begins at 0:43:48.] cite paper | author=Brudno, Michael | title=Competitions, Controversies, and Computer Chess | date=May 2000 | url=http://scholar.google.com/url?sa=U&q=http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~brudno/essays/cchess.pdf | format = PDF | accessdate=2006-07-01]
Martin Graetz, Stephen Russell and Wayne Wiitanen conceived the computer game
Spacewar!while working at Harvard Universityin 1961. Inspired by Marvin Minsky's "Three Position Display" they called the "Minskytron", with their MIT classmates Dan Edwards, Kotok, Stephen D. Piner, Samson and Saunders, they had the first version running by early 1962. Coded by Russell, Spacewar! was one of the earliest interactive computer games.cite web | last=Graetz | first=J. Martin | title=The origin of Spacewar! | work= Creative Computingand Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games | date=August 1981, Spring 1983 | url=http://www.atarimagazines.com/cva/v1n1/spacewar.php | accessdate=2006-07-01]
Kotok did not write any of the Spacewar! code. He did travel to DEC to obtain the sine-cosine routinecite web | author=Digital Equipment Corporation | title=Sine-cosine Routine | date=
31 December 1962| url=http://www.computerhistory.org/pdp-1/index.php?f=showitem&id=22.11 | accessdate=2006-07-20] that Russell needed. Graetz credited Kotok and Saunders with building the game controllerswhich allowed two people to play side by side. Asked if the group invented the joystick, Kotok said no. NASAor some other organization had similar control boxes at the time. cite web
last=Haas | first=Hugo
publisher=W3C email@example.com archive
4 June, 2006
Samson replaced what were at first random points of light with
Expensive Planetarium. Edwards sped up the display of the spaceships and added the central star, the center of gravity. Graetz added hyperspace.
From a printout that Graetz provided, Barry Silverman, Brian Silverman and
Vadim Gerasimovtranscribed the source code and built a Spacewar! Java applet in 1999.cite web | author=Gerasimov, Vadim | title=Vadim Gerasimov - Projects | month=August | year=2006 | url=http://vadim.oversigma.com/cv.html | accessdate=2006-09-29] The applet is available at Gerasimov's web site where one can play Spacewar [http://spacewar.oversigma.com in a Web browser] . Stewart Brandand Annie Leibovitzcelebrated the game's success in "Spacewar: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums" in "Rolling Stone" magazine on or near Spacewar!'s 10th birthday in 1972. In the "New York Times" in 2002 on the game's 40th anniversary, John Markoffinterviewed the creators of Spacewar in " [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D07E3DD1531F93BA15751C0A9649C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all A Long Time Ago, in a Lab Far Away . . .] "
Edward Fredkin, at one time at BBN which was DEC's first customer for the PDP-1, McCarthy, Russell, Samson, Kotok and Harlan Anderson, and Gordon Bellon tape, met in May 2006 for a panel to celebrate the Computer History Museum's [http://www.computerhistory.org/pdp-1/ restoration of a PDP-1] .
Their presentations show that TX-0 and PDP-1 users wrote some of the earliest
application software. Piner wrote Expensive Typewriterwhich enabled the group to operate the TX-0 and PDP-1 directly. Wagner wrote Expensive Desk Calculator. On a second PDP-1 in the physics department, Daniel L. Murphy wrote the TECO text editor, later used to implement Emacs. Samson wrote TJ-2, an early page layout program, and implemented the War card game. Collaboration on computing waveforms with Dennis on the TX-0 led to Samson writing the Harmony Compilerwith which PDP-1 users coded music. Kotok and Samson worked together on T-Square, a drafting program that used a Spacewar! controller to move the cursor. Gross and Kotok built Expensive Tape Recorder.
Early PDP-1 users wrote programming software including an assembler translated from the TX-0 over one weekend in 1961. Kotok wrote the DDT online debugging program translated from the FLIT
debuggerfor the TX-0. Kotok later wrote an interpreter for the Lisp programming languagein TECO macros.
In 1961 Kotok began at DEC writing a
Fortran compilerfor the PDP-4. He next worked on the PDP-5instruction set. Part of a team led by principal architect Gordon Bellunder Anderson who was vice president of engineering, Kotok was an assistant logic designer of the first commercial time-sharingcomputer, the PDP-6.cite web | title=Phil's PDP10 Miscellany Page | author=Budne, Phil | date=undated | url=http://www.ultimate.com/phil/pdp10/ | accessdate=2006-07-01] Beginning with the PDP-6, designed and delivered in 1963-1964 for scientific use, DEC machines had a 36-bit word length to accommodate artificial intelligencework in Lisp and to compare with IBMmainframe computers.cite web | title=Twenty Years of 36-bit Computing with Digital 1964-1984 | year=1984 | url=http://www.ultimate.com/phil/pdp10/20yrs/index.html | accessdate=2006-07-01]
In what may have been the first around-the-world networking connection, a PDP-6 at the
University of Western Australiain Perth was operated from Boston in the United States via a telex link in 1965. DEC photographed [http://research.microsoft.com/Users/gbell/Digital/timeline/1965-3.htm Bell and Kotok at a PDP-6] .
Kotok became the principal architect and designer of several generations of the
PDP-10, DECsystem-10and DECSYSTEM-20. Bell, Thomas Hastings, Richard Hill and Kotok wrote that the DECSystem-10 accelerated the transition from batch processing to time-sharing and single-usersystems.cite paper | author=Bell, C. Gordon, Kotok, Alan, Hastings, Thomas N., and Hill, Richard | title=The evolution of the DECsystem 10 | publisher=ACM | date=January 1978 | url=http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=359335&dl=GUIDE&coll=GUIDE | accessdate=2006-07-01]
Kotok was also system architect of the
VAX8600, known as Venus. Up to 4.2 times faster than the standard at the time, the VAX 8600 was the highest performance computer system in DEC history when it was introduced in 1984.cite web | title=VAX 8600: 1984 | work=DEC Timeline | date=undated | url=http://research.microsoft.com/Users/gbell/Digital/timeline/1984-3.htm | accessdate=2006-07-01]
In his 34-year career at DEC, Kotok held senior engineering positions in storage, telecommunications and software. As technical director of the Corporate Strategy Group, Kotok was instrumental in creating the Internet Business Group which advocated early adoption and integration of Internet and Web-based technologies.cite web | title=W3C Alumni | author=Kotok, Alan | date=undated | url=http://www.w3.org/People/Alumni#kotok | accessdate=2006-07-01]
DEC brought forth the
AltaVista search engine, the Internet firewall, the Web portal, the Webcastand live electionreturns.cite web | title=Internet/Intranet: 1977-1997 | work=DEC Timeline | date=undated | url=http://research.microsoft.com/users/GBell/Digital/timeline/internet.htm | accessdate=2006-07-01] cite web | last=Stuart | first=Anne | title=Digital Rewired | publisher=WebMaster Magazine | month=June | year=1995 | url=http://www.cio.com/archive/webbusiness/0695_dec.html | accessdate=2006-07-01] Through difficult times, DEC continued its lead in developing for the Internet and Web. But Kotok sought a direction different from the corporate strategy of the time that he felt consumed Web and Internet resources to sell DEC products like the Alpha server.cite web | last=Kotok | first=Alan | title=DEC Internet Business Group page | publisher=Richard Seltzer, B&R Samizdat Express | date= 29 August 2000| url=http://www.samizdat.com/ibg.html | accessdate=2006-07-01] For one example, he saw a missed opportunity in Millicent, the micropaymentsystem that could buy and sell Web contentfor fractions of a U.S. cent.cite web | title=Millicent: 1997 | work=DEC Timeline | date=undated | url=http://research.microsoft.com/users/GBell/Digital/timeline/1997-3.htm | accessdate=2006-07-01]
Kotok was a corporate consulting engineer for DEC 1962–1997, W3C Advisory Committee representative for DEC 1994-1996, vice president of marketing for GC Tech Inc. 1996–1997, member of the Science Advisory Board for Cylink Corp., a consultant for
Compaq, and a content advisor for the Computer History Museum.cite web | title=Exhibition Credits | author=Computer History Museum | date=undated | url=http://www.computerhistory.org/chess/credits.php | accessdate=2006-07-01]
At Berlekamp's suggestion, for nine months during the 1975-1976 academic year Kotok taught logic design at the
University of California, Berkeley.
Kotok earned a master's degree in business administration from
Clark Universityin 1978.cite paper | last=Kotok | first=Alan | title=Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Summary Sheet | publisher=Massachusetts Institute of Technology | year=undated]
DEC and GC Tech were early W3C members and were among the sponsors of the [http://www.w3.org/Conferences/WWW4/ Fourth International World Wide Web Conference] (WWW4) in 1995 in Boston. Kotok coordinated a
BoFon "Selection of Payment Vehicle for Internet Purchases" on April 7, 1997 at WWW6 in Santa Clara, California.cite paper | author=Khare, Rohit | title=W3C at WWW6 | publisher=W3C | year=1999 | url=http://www.w3.org/Conferences/WWW6/ | accessdate=2006-07-01] In La Jolla, California, he presented "Micropayment Systems" to the Electronic Payments Forum in 1997.cite web | title=Meeting Report | publisher=Electronic Payments Forum | month=January | year=1997 | url=http://www.epf.net/PrevMtngs/Jan97/Jan97Report.html | accessdate=2006-07-01]
While at DEC Kotok recognized the Web's potential, and went on to help found the
CSAIL in 2006. Photo: Ralph R. Swick
World Wide Web Consortium. Early in 1994 in Zürich, Switzerland, Tim Berners-Leehad met with Michael Dertouzosto discuss starting a new organization at MIT.cite web | title=How It All Started | author=Berners-Lee, Tim | date= 1 December 2004| url=http://www.w3.org/2004/Talks/w3c10-HowItAllStarted/ | accessdate=2006-07-01] In April 1994, Kotok, Steve Fink, Gail Grant and Brian Reid from DEC travelled to CERNin Geneva to speak with Berners-Lee about the need for a consortium to create open standardsand to coordinate Web development. Berners-Lee mentions the pivotal meeting with DEC in "Weaving the Web".Harvard reference | Surname1=Berners-Lee | Given1=Tim | Surname2=Fischetti | Given2=Mark | Title=Weaving the Web: Origins and Future of the World Wide Web | Publisher=HarperCollins | Page=77-78 | Year=1999 | URL=http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/Weaving/ | accessdate=2006-07-01]
Kotok joined W3C as associate chairman in May 1997.
Kotok recruited hundreds of W3C members and represented their interests. He managed the W3C host site at the
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory(CSAIL) where he was a research scientist. He headed the worldwide W3C Systems and Web Team who serve the millions of pages and resources in the W3C Web site and its mailing list archives.
Kotok managed contractual relations with W3C hosts, member organizations and offices. He helped to establish new W3C offices in India and China. He worked with the W3C management team, the W3C Advisory Board and an internal task force to reduce membership fees in developing countries. Kotok chaired Patent Advisory Groups including one for
HTMLcite web | author=W3C | title=HTML Patent Advisory Group (PAG) Public Home Page | date= 23 September 2003to 22 March 2004| url=http://www.w3.org/2003/09/pag | accessdate=2006-07-01] and was a major contributor to the W3C Patent Policy.cite web | author=W3C | title=W3C Patent Policy | date= 20 May 2003to 5 February 2004| url=http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy/ | accessdate=2006-07-01]
Kotok briefly led the Technology and Society domain which at the time consisted of W3C activity on digital signatures, electronic commerce, public policy, PICS, RDF metadata, privacy, and security.cite web | title=Technology and Society | author=Kotok, Alan | month=April | year=1998 | url=http://www.w3.org/Talks/1998/04/WWW7TandS/ | accessdate=2006-07-01]
Kotok lived in the United States in
Cambridge, Massachusettsand Cape May, New Jerseywith his wife Judith Kotok who was a choir director and piano teacher. They were fond of 16th and 17th century music and pipe organs. The Kotoks photographed their tour of historic organs in Germany in 2004. At the time of her death in 2005, Judie Kotok was on the faculty of the Longy School of Musicand directed the annual [http://www.myspace.com/dnjyouthchoirweek Youth Choir Week] held in Cape May by the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. Alan functioned as the resident videographer at the event. Judie Kotok co-founded Tech Squaresat MIT in 1967. Kotok had a daughter, Leah Kotok, a stepdaughter, Frederica Beck, and a stepson, Daryl Beck.cite web | title=Kotok Family Home Page | date=undated | url=http://www.kotok.org/ | accessdate=2006-07-01]
Kotok died of an apparent heart attack on
26 May, 2006. He passed away at home in Cambridge.
last=Wright | first=Sarah H.
title=Alan Kotok, 64, created joystick
publisher=MIT News Office
13 June, 2006
* [http://www.kotok.org/ Kotok Family Home Page]
:* particularly cite web | author=
Computer History Museum| title=Section 2.4: Opening Moves: Getting Going | month=September | year=2005 | url=http://www.computerhistory.org/chess/main.php?sec=thm-42b86c2029762&sel=thm-42b86c7bdbaf1 | accessdate=2006-07-01
Digital Equipment Corporation
World Wide Web Consortium
* [http://www.kotok.org/ Kotok Family Home Page]
* [http://www.w3.org/ World Wide Web Consortium] (W3C)
* [http://www.csail.mit.edu/ MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory] (CSAIL)
* [http://www.computerhistory.org/events/index.php?id=1142978073 The Mouse That Roared: PDP-1 Celebration Event] panel,
15 May, 2006.
SHORT DESCRIPTION=American computer scientist
DATE OF BIRTH=9 November 1941
PLACE OF BIRTH=Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
DATE OF DEATH=26 May 2006
PLACE OF DEATH=Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Alan Kotok — bei einem Vortrag in Boston (2004). Foto: Richard Ishida Alan Kotok (* 9. November 1941 in Philadelphia; † 26. Mai 2006 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) war ein US amerikanischer Informatiker und Mitentwickler von Space War, dem ersten Computerspie … Deutsch Wikipedia
Alan Kotok — à Boston en 2004. Alan Kotok (9 novembre 1941 26 mai 2006) est un informaticien américain, père de la première manette de jeu vidéo (en anglais joystick), il contribua également à Spacewar, le premier jeu sur ordinateur. La thèse de bachelier d… … Wikipédia en Français
Kotok — Alan Kotok bei einem Vortrag in Boston (2004). Foto: Richard Ishida Alan Kotok (* 9. November 1941 in Philadelphia; † 26. Mai 2006 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) war ein US amerikanischer Informatiker und Mitentwickler von … Deutsch Wikipedia
Kotok-McCarthy — also known as [http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/17406 A Chess Playing Program for the IBM 7090 Computer] was the first computer program to play chess convincingly. It is also remembered because it played in and lost the first chess match between two… … Wikipedia
Kotok-McCarthy — fut le premier programme d échecs à disposer d un jeu crédible. Il a été développé entre 1959 et 1962 au MIT. C est également le premier programme à disputer un match contre un autre programme. Sommaire 1 Développement 2 Mat … Wikipédia en Français
T-Square (software) — Infobox Software name = T Square caption = author = Peter Samson with Alan Kotok and possibly Robert A. Saunders developer = released = 1962 latest release version = latest release date = latest preview version = latest preview date = operating… … Wikipedia
Expensive Tape Recorder — Infobox Software name = Expensive Tape Recorder caption = author = David Gross with Alan Kotok developer = released = circa 1959 1962 latest release version = latest release date = latest preview version = latest preview date = operating system … Wikipedia
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution — Traduction à relire Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution → … Wikipédia en Français
Mac Hack — is a computer chess program written by Richard D. Greenblatt. Also known as Mac Hac and [http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/6176 The Greenblatt Chess Program] , it was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mac Hack VI was the first… … Wikipedia
David Webber — This article is about the Information technologist. For the science fiction writer, see David Weber. For the clarinetist, see David Weber (clarinetist). David Webber Born 1955 (1955) Leicestershire, England … Wikipedia