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PARC, Which Laid Foundation for PC Revolution, Turns 40


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PARC—the Xerox-backed research institution that laid the foundation for the personal computing revolution—is celebrating its 40th anniversary, but the fabled organization's leaders and researchers are determined to show that its best days are not behind it.

While acclaimed for inventing the laser printer, the desktop interface for PCs and the idea of "ubiquitous computing" that paved the way for the PalmPilot and the iPad, PARC isn't mired in the past. If anything, the Palo Alto Research Center, which was spun off from Xerox in 2002, has a broader mission today—pursuing research in areas such as solar energy generation, drug discovery tools and even water treatment, in addition to its longtime focus on information technology hardware and software.

"PARC has not just survived but it's absolutely thriving," said Paul Saffo, a longtime valley watcher and the managing director of foresight at San Francisco-based Discern Analytics. "It's a vibrant organization that is still helping reinvent the future."

From San Jose Mercury News
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