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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- sonxe259.vn Professor Michael L. Dertouzos, who had a rare gift for putting complicated technology into human terms và making it accessible khổng lồ non-technical audiences, died Monday night (Aug. 27) at Massachusetts General Hospital. Born in Athens, Greece, Dertouzos was 64.

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Dertouzos joined the sonxe259.vn faculty in 1964 & became director of the sonxe259.vn Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) in 1974. Under his leadership, LCS became one of the largest research labs at sonxe259.vn with 400 faculty members, graduate students, và research staff. LCS dedicated itself lớn the invention, development & understanding of information technologies, always within the context of their human utility.

"We made a big mistake 300 years ago when we separated technology và humanism," Dertouzos said in an interview in Scientific American. "It"s time khổng lồ put the two back together."

sonxe259.vn President Charles M. Vest said, "Michael was larger than life. He was at once a leader, builder, visionary và caring human being. Few individuals have so personally and profoundly shaped their institutions và professional fields. Yet he did so in a manner that respected and involved all of his colleagues. I will miss his personal friendship and counsel very much."

"Michael was a leader in every sense of the word. He knew how to lớn motivate people; he was passionate about his work & passionate about the people he worked with. For many of us, this is more like losing a family thành viên than losing a colleague," said John V. Guttag, head of the department of electrical engineering & computer science at sonxe259.vn.

LCS members and alumni have been instrumental in the development of numerous innovations, among them time-shared computers, RSA encryption, the X Window system, the ArpaNet & the Internet. Most recently, LCS spearheaded the $50 million Oxygen project in 1999 in conjunction with sonxe259.vn"s Artificial Intelligence Lab. Oxygen is intended to make computers easier to lớn use, "as natural a part of our environment as the air we breathe."

Victor W. Zue, associate director of the Lab, commented, "Michael fervently believed that developing technology is not enough by itself. One must also strive to lớn demonstrate that it is good for something. Under his stewardship, LCS has been mindful of balancing technical excellence with social relevance."

The Lab is currently the North American home of the World Wide web Consortium (W3C), an open forums of companies and organizations that helps promote the Web"s evolution và ensure its interoperability. Dertouzos was instrumental in bringing the W3C & its director, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, khổng lồ LCS.

Tim Berners-Lee said, "If it hadn"t been for Michael, there would not probably have been a World Wide website Consortium. He was a spring of enthusiasm, capability, insight, and experience which drove a half-formed idea of W3C into an international reality. Ever since, Michael"s strength of leadership, clarity of thought & warmth of heart have been a constant support and nourishment và inspiration. He will be dearly missed."

In the LCS director"s statement, Dertouzos wrote with characteristic enthusiasm for human progress through technology: "We feel extraordinarily privileged khổng lồ have a hand in shaping the Information Revolution -- the third major socioeconomic movement of our world.

"But our quest goes beyond utilitarian increases in human productivity lớn the broader ways in which information can help people. We find ourselves in the junction of two interrelated challenges: Going after the best, most exciting forefront technology; và ensuring that it truly serves human needs. It is this mixture of forefront technology and human utility that is the hallmark of LCS research."

Professor Harold Abelson of electrical engineering & computer science, who co-authored a paper with Dertouzos, said: "Michael was a leader of mythic proportions, both at sonxe259.vn & worldwide. Much of what we take for granted in computing at sonxe259.vn -- including Project Athena and the World Wide web Consortium -- is a direct result of his leadership, his vision, and his entrepreneurial skill." Dertouzos played a key role in creating Project Athena, which he suggested be named after the Greek goddess of wisdom.

Stephen A. Ward, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at LCS và a former doctoral student of Dertouzos, said, "Michael Dertouzos brought a quality combination of intuition, humanity, và style to lớn our faculty. Michael"s impact on sonxe259.vn & his mentorship of students và colleagues stand as an indelible monument khổng lồ his leadership, vision and personality. He will be remembered as one of the greats of sonxe259.vn and computer technology."

Dertouzos, whose father was an admiral in the Greek navy, was raised in Greece. His earliest memories were of war-torn Athens and of people starving in the streets, an experience that deeply affected him for the rest of his life.

As a teenager, Dertouzos dreamed of going lớn sonxe259.vn, but when he won a Fulbright scholarship it was to lớn the University of Arkansas, where he earned the BS và MS degrees. After selling soft drinks và working with shaft-angle encoders at Baldwin Piano, he applied lớn the sonxe259.vn doctorate program. Upon receiving the Ph.D. In electrical engineering in 1964, he joined the faculty as an assistant professor and became a full professor in 1973.

True khổng lồ the sonxe259.vn spirit of innovation và entrepreneurship, Dertouzos holds patents on a graphical display system, an incremental photoelectric encoder, a graphic tablet, and on a parallel thermal printer.


Dertouzos is the author of eight books. His latest, "The Unfinished Revolution: Human-Centered Computers và What They Can do for Us" (HarperCollins), published this year, introduced the concept of "human centered computing." Computers, he wrote, should serve people, not the other way around. Today"s machines are overloaded with excessive features, inadequately address our needs, & demand too much of our attention, he declared.

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"Michael argued eloquently for human-centered computing. He thought deeply about how information công nghệ could help everyone, not just the technical elite," said Guttag.

In the best-selling "What Will Be" (HarperCollins), published in 1997 when the internet was first beginning to lớn take hold, he wrote about the many ways in which information technology would transform our lives.

In 1986, Dertouzos was asked to chair the sonxe259.vn Commission on Industrial Productivity, khổng lồ examine why US firms were losing competitiveness khổng lồ their overseas industrial rivals. The result was "Made in America," co-authored by Richard K. Lester and Robert M. Solow (sonxe259.vn Press), which became one of the most influential business books of the 1980s, with over 300,000 copies in print.

"Michael"s books were one example of his educational skills. He was fearless in entering the arena of other pundits attempting khổng lồ forecast the future of computers and their application. Among his colleagues he was known for his concern for the big picture," said Fernando J. Corbat������, professor of electrical engineering, emeritus, at sonxe259.vn, và the inventor of time-shared computing.


An avid sailor & woodworker, Dertouzos spent much of the past quarter century studying & forecasting future technological shifts -- in describing, for experts and ordinary citizens alike, what could be. In 1976, he predicted the emergence of a PC in every 3-4 homes by the mid-1990s. In 1980, he first wrote about the Information Marketplace, a vision of networked computers that has transformed the world economy.

An eloquent speaker, who was admired for his integrity và his disdain for hype, Dertouzos was frequently sought out by the media, industry & government agencies for his expertise & insight on the relationship between computers and their human users.

During the Carter Administration, Professor Dertouzos chaired a white house nhà trắng advisory group that redesigned the white house information systems. In 1995, he represented the US in a delegation khổng lồ the G7 Conference on the Information society. In 1998, he was co-chairman of the World Economic forum on the Network Society in Davos, Switzerland.

"Michael had a broad understanding of technology and a teacher"s knack for explaining ideas. One direction in which this shone was his skill in interfacing with government sponsors of research. He was skillful in evoking the best research ideas from within the laboratory; he could educate without being condescending," Corbat������ said.

In his final interview, printed in the August 22 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Dertouzos spoke about the qualities that he most valued in teachers, qualities which were a fundamental part of his own approach to his interactions with the sonxe259.vn community:

"Don"t forget the impact that love has on education," Dertouzos said in explaining his skepticism of computer-based distance education. "If you are loved by your teacher -- và I mean this in the most innocent & Platonic sense -- if your teacher really cares for your well-being -- và you know that because your teacher will ask about you, will scold you for not doing the right thing, & will give you stories about why you should bởi this or do that -- the learning can be unbelievably different."

Dertouzos, a resident of Weston, married Hadwig Gofferje in 1961. They divorced in 1993. In 1998 he married Catherine Liddell, who survives him along with his two children, Alexandra Dertouzos Rowe và Leonidas M. Dertouzos of Boston, & a granddaughter, Kiera Ann Rowe.

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A funeral service will be held in Athens on September 4th, followed by a memorial service at sonxe259.vn. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent khổng lồ Athens College, 342 Madison Avenue, Suite 16161, New York, NY, 10173.