Honoring Charles P. Thacker, a visionary computer scientist who changed the world

Charles P. Thacker, a visionary and hands-on electrical engineer who designed the first instances of key computing technologies that define modern life, died June 12 at his home in Palo Alto, California. He was 74.

Chuck, as he was known to friends and colleagues designed the Alto, the first modern personal computer with a mouse and graphical user interface, in the early 1970s at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center. He was also a key player in the development of Ethernet, a system for connecting computers into a local area network; the first multiprocessor workstation; and Microsoft’s Tablet PC.

“Chuck has an impressive record of having done the first of quite a few things that we now think of as part of daily life,” said Butler Lampson, a technical fellow at Microsoft’s New England research lab.<.p>