Two innovation powerhouses in Silicon Valley are joining forces.
Xerox announced yesterday (April 24) that it will donate its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) to SRI International, a nonprofit research and innovation institute. Researchers at the two organizations will collaborate on developing technologies and scientific research, while Xerox said it will focus on its “core, digital and IT services.”
Around 150 employees from PARC will join SRI, and contribute to its research areas, which include computer vision, AI and machine learning, and robotics. Both organizations have worked in the innovation space for decades, creating technology that has come to define the internet age.
You’re reading this on a computer screen thanks to SRI and PARC
The Xerox Corporation founded PARC in 1970, assembling a group of scientists to pioneer innovations in computer technology. Over the next decade, PARC would go on to incubate the first personal computer, Ethernet, and graphical user interface, among several other groundbreaking technologies. The computer mouse was developed at PARC; so was the laser printer. Steve Jobs saw windows and icons on a computer screen during a visit to PARC and was so taken that Apple copied them. Almost singlehandedly, PARC invented the modern workstation.
SRI International was first established as the Stanford Research Institute in 1946, with a mission to advance scientific knowledge and the university’s areas of study. The organization was rebranded as SRI in 1977. The organization’s iconic innovations include color television, the banking guidelines for SWIFT codes, and the technology behind Siri.
“SRI International’s rich history combined with PARC’s track record and legacy of breakthrough innovation opens the door to extraordinary new technological advances and the bold impact for which both organizations are known,” said David Parekh, CEO of SRI International, in a statement.
A non-exhaustive timeline of innovations developed at PARC and SRI
1940: RCA Laboratories (which was later renamed and became a part of SRI) demonstrates the world’s first commercial Transmission Electron Microscope.
1969: SRI, then associated with Stanford University, was involved in the first transmission on the ARPANET, a computer network foundational to the creation of the internet.
1973: PARC creates the Xerox Alto Personal workstation, a.k.a. the first personal computer.
1974: The David Sarnoff Research Center, now a part of SRI, invents the amorphous solar silicon cell, a building block of solar technology.
1975: PARC releases the first graphical user interface (GUI), which contains icons and pop-up menus that can overlap, and requires point-and-click interactions—the foundations of how we still use computers today.
1988: PARC coins the term “ubiquitous computing,” describing a future where mobile devices are connected through the internet.
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Correction: A previous version of this story said roughly 1,000 employees of PARC will join SRI. That number actually refers to the number of researchers SRI employs.