Mark Weiser dies at 46
July 23, 1952-April 27, 1999

"Ubiquitous computing names the third wave in computing, just now beginning. First were mainframes, each shared by lots of people. Now we are in the personal computing era, person and machine staring uneasily at each other across the desktop. Next comes ubiquitous computing, or the age of calm technology, when technology recedes into the background of our lives."
--Mark Weiser
"Probably Rock's Smartest Drummer," Smithsonian Magazine, September 1994.
"Probably not, but he does play with a lot of emotion after a few beers."
--Mark Weiser

Dr. Mark Weiser, the chief technology officer at XEROX PARC, and father of what he coined ubiquitous computing, was diagnosed in March with gastric cancer and given 18 months to live; he died after only 6 weeks. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to spend his remaining time writing a book clearing up some of the confusion around ubiquitous computing.

Weiser wanted to sit by the seaside and write the book on the real essence of ubiquitous computing. "They've completely missed the non-technical part of what ubiquitous computing is all about," he told Xerox's chief scientist and PARC's director, John Seely Brown.

"PARC set up special technology to take dictation from Weiser and automatically transmit daily dispatches to the research center," Brown said. But Mark's cancer spread quickly. "I don't even think he got to write the first paragraph," Brown said.

Condolences to the family can be sent to communications@parc.xerox.com. Dr. Weiser's family, his wife Vicky Reich, and daughters Nicole and Corinne, requested that donations be made to a fund set up to provide tuition scholarships to promising computer science undergraduates at UC Berkeley. He is survived by his wife, Vicky, a librarian at Stanford; his mother, Audra Weiser, of Port Jefferson Station, California; a sister, Ann, of Oakland; and two daughters, Corinne Reich-Weiser and Nicole Reich-Weiser.

Outside of computer science, Mark was the drummer with Severe Tire Damage, the first band to perform live on the Internet. Weiser was also an avid snorkeller, skydiver, and rapeller.

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Last modified: Thursday, 08-Jul-1999 10:10:32 PDT