Human Advancement Research Community

Alan Kay
researcher (honorary)
Alan Kay is one of the earliest pioneers of object-oriented programming, personal computing, and graphical user interfaces. His contributions have been recognized with the Charles Stark Draper Prize, the Alan. M. Turing Award and the Kyoto Prize. This work was done in the rich context of ARPA and Xerox PARC with many talented colleagues.

Bret Victor
principal investigator
Bret Victor (PI) wants scientists and citizens to be able to see, understand, and think what needs to be seen, understood, and thought in order for modern civilization to work out okay. His group is building a prototype environment for “dynamic spatial media”, in which conversation, presentation, reading, and writing are dynamic embodied activities – people physically together, dynamically modeling and simulating, thinking with their bodies and hands, seeing everything. In his free time, he enjoys working.

Chris Clark
chief operating officer
Chris Clark is YC Research’s head of operations. Chris previously ran operations at Loopt, which was funded by Y Combinator in 2005 and acquired by Green Dot in 2012. More recently, he was Mayor of Mountain View and still serves on the city council. Chris has a BA in Political Science from Stanford University.

Elizabeth Proehl
office manager
Elizabeth joined YC Research to manage the office and general operations. Most recently, she worked as a public radio producer and reporter at KPFA in Berkeley, California. She has a BA in Near Eastern Studies and Psychology from Cornell.

John Maloney
principal investigator
John Maloney (PI) creates live, interactive programming systems. His primary project is a general purpose blocks programming language that attempts to span the space between novices and more experienced (but non-professional) programmers.

Joshua Horowitz
Joshua Horowitz is a software developer and researcher. He believes that graphics and computation can make it vastly easier to understand and work with complex ideas. Toward this end, he is helping build Apparatus (a hybrid graphics editor and programming environment for creating interactive diagrams) and assisting in the design of a new environment for dynamic spatial media.

Paula Te
Paula Te, interaction design, mechanical engineering, education. She researches tangible interfaces and tools for creativity in spatial dynamic media. Projects include developing a digital/physical platform for creating board games to understand and simulate complex systems, and exploring ways to digitally fabricate objects, sculptures, and structures by direct manipulation. Other projects include 50 Years  & TADCAD . Previously, Paula worked as an interaction designer at Xerox PARC, and in design education in Kathmandu at Karkhana and in Boston at MIT.

Toby Schachman
Toby Schachman is researching ways to interact and create with computation while being present in the world. A related interest is the use of spatial reasoning for programming, as an alternative or complement to symbolic reasoning. His most recent project is Apparatus, a hybrid graphics editor and programming environment for creating interactive diagrams. Previously he created Shadershop, an interface for creating GPU shaders through direct manipulation of graphical representations. He enjoys hiking, cooking, and making interactive sculptures.

Virginia McArthur
executive producer
Virginia is an executive producer partnering with the PIs at HARC. Previously, Virginia produced at Zynga, Electronic Arts and EAI. At Zynga, she co-created and the first use of social goods in games while creating new IP and helping to launch Zynga’s first platform. At EA, she produced many of the Sim’s expansion titles and bringing to life the first Spore and Sim’s mobile and handheld titles. Her passion prior to hardware and software gaming involved education and toys at EAI where she produced experiences from Barbie Magic Hairstyler, Clue for Hasbro, National Geographic overviews, Math games for Mosby, to generating medical media for Merck and Pfizer, creating new ways to describe medical procedures and processes. Virginia’s passions began with medical photography, animation, and illustration and has now come full circle with focus on new ways to teach, collaborate and represent media in our world.

Extended Community & Former Members

Alan Borning  Alan Borning is Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle, and is continuing to do research there and in collaboration with Viewpoints Institute and the Software Architecture Group at Hasso Plattner Institute. His current work is in declarative languages, specifically a new constraint reactive programming language.

Alexia Lou

Amelia McNamara  Amelia McNamara is a visiting assistant professor of Statistical and Data Sciences at Smith College. Her goal is to make it easier for people to do and understand statistics, particularly in the context of computing and data analysis. She is a consultant with Viewpoints Research Institute, collaborating with Aran Lunzer.

Aran Lunzer  Aran has been a Senior Researcher at Viewpoints Research Institute since 2011. His research centres on what he calls “subjunctive interfaces”: information interfaces designed to illuminate the context surrounding a computed result - be it a retrieval, simulation, or visualisation - by hinting at alternative results from nearby, subtly different computations. Aran’s aim is to entice users to inform themselves, exploring and comparing further than they otherwise would.

Bert Freudenberg

Dan Ingalls Dan Ingalls (PI) conceived the Lively Web live object system ( ) which remains the vehicle for his research at HARC. He spent much of his youth studying and experimenting in physics, but in his last year of college discovered computers and programming. He was fortunate to join Alan Kay at Xerox PARC, and spent time at Xerox and Apple working out various schemes for message syntax, language interpretation and graphical display as they invented much of OOP. He was the architect and principal implementer of a series of Smalltalk implementations culminating in the self-supporting Squeak Smalltalk. The higher focus on education in those systems made simplicity a priority, and that priority continues in the current work on Lively.

David A. Smith

Elijah Butterfield

Evelyn Eastmond

Jens Lincke  Jens Lincke is a member of the Software Architecture group at the Hasso Plattner Institute, where he is interested in live and explorative programming (Lively Kernel). He was awarded a PhD for a thesis on evolving tools in a collaborative self-supporting development environment.

Jens Mönig Jens Mönig makes interactive programming environments. He is fanatical about visual coding blocks and stubbornly suspects that beyond drag & drop lies an Eldorado of a novel computing paradigm yet to be discovered by the intrepid. Jens is working with John Maloney and Yoshiki Ohshima on a new general purpose blocks language. In his spare time he develops UC Berkeley’s “Snap! Build Your Own Blocks” programming system, used in the introductory “Beauty and Joy of Computing” curriculum around the world. Previously Jens has written enterprise software at MioSoft and contributed to MIT’s Scratch editor. Jens is a fully qualified lawyer in Germany and has been an attorney, corporate counsel and lecturer for many years before rediscovering his love for programming through Scratch and Squeak. For leisure Jens likes guitar picking and strumming his mandolin.

Ken Perlin  Ken Perlin, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at New York University, directs the Media Research Lab, and is a participating faculty member at NYU MAGNET. His research interests include future reality, graphics and animation, user interfaces and education. He received an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his noise and turbulence procedural texturing techniques, which are widely used in feature films and television, as well as the 2008 ACM/SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award, the TrapCode award for achievement in computer graphics research, the NYC Mayor’s award for excellence in Science and Technology and the Sokol award for outstanding Science faculty at NYU, and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation.

Kim Rose  Kim Rose is the co-founder and Executive Director of Viewpoints Research Institute. In addition to overseeing all administrative and financial aspects of the non-profit organization, Kim is a media developer, media critic and cognitive scientist. She has been affiliated with Alan Kay and his research team since 1986 when she joined the “Vivarium Project” at Apple Computer.

Mark Guzdial

Marko Röder Marko is a researcher interested in programming languages and (future) programming experiences. He recently started working with Alex Warth on Ohm and the Ohm Editor (to easily experiment with new programming languages and ideas) and likes to think about how to enable people to “program” that have not studied computer science (What does it mean to program in that regard?). Before, he was working with Dan Ingalls for a few years on the Lively Web with a focus on end-user programming and its powerful yet uncommon style of collaborative software development. He dreams of better “narratives” for software and a common understanding of software by humans - and computers.

Matt Hemmings

Meixian Li

Peter Amidon

Robert Hirschfeld  Robert Hirschfeld is interested in programming experiences and small system kernels. With the Software Architecture Group at the Hasso Plattner Institut  in Potsdam he is working on dynamic programming languages, development tools, and runtime environments to make interactive programming more approachable. His preferred environment for exploring ideas is Squeak/Smalltalk.

Robert Krahn  Robert is a software engineer and researcher focusing on software construction kits that facilitate liveness and interactivity. His areas of interest include everything that supports the former: Dynamic programming languages, self-sustaining system kernels, user interface kits, authoring mediums and tools. Based on the Lively Kernel system, Robert created Lively Wiki, a web-based collaborative programming environment that allows its users to create and share applications in a rich graphical environment. Previously, he was a software developer at Zendesk and researcher at the Software Architecture Group at HPI / University of Potsdam.

Robin Schreiber

Saketh Kasibatla

Sean McDirmid

Shubham Joshi

Ted Kaehler  Ted is a member of the technical staff at Viewpoints Research . He has a passion for improving math and science education and is especially interested in a project to reinvent programming environments from the ground up.

Tim Felgentreff  Tim Felgentreff is a member of the Software Architecture group at the Hasso Plattner Institute, where he works on programming language extensions and high-performance dynamic language virtual machines. His PhD thesis is concerned with extending general purpose programming languages with seamless first class constraint solving.

Trish Dickey

Tyler Smith

Yoshiki Ohshima  Yoshiki Ohshima (PI) has research interests in interactive and educational computer systems, software architectures and programming languages. Yoshiki graduated from the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1994. He was awarded his PhD for the creation of “Kedama”, a massively parallel particle programming system, from the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 2006. Yoshiki worked on theme park related research project at Walt Disney Imagineering R&D from 2000 through 2002. In 2002, he joined Twin Sun, Inc. From 2007 he worked at the Viewpoints Research Institute. At VPRI, Yoshiki worked on projects include bringing the etoys environment to children via the “XO” and the One Laptop Per Child (olpc) initiative, multilingualization of software environments, and the STEPS project.