Dr.  Ronald Michael Baecker Digital Library

Based in Toronto, ON, Canada
Ronald Michael Baecker


Ron Baecker is Emeritus Professor of Computer Science and Bell Chair in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Toronto (UofT). His B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. (1969) are from MIT. He was the co-founder of UofT’s Dynamic Graphics Project, and the founder of its Knowledge Media Design Institute and its Technologies for Aging Gracefully lab (TAGlab).  He created and directed NECTAR, a Canada-wide research network on collaboration technologies. Besides UofT, he previously did interactive computing research at M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Xerox PARC, Apple Computer, and the MIT Media Lab.  He also spent a term working in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He started five software companies, three of which he led as founding CEO.  He has taught principles of softwarre entrepreneurship for 36 years to thousands of students on 3 continents.

AWARDS and ACM INVOLVEMENT: He has been named one of the 60 Pioneers of Computer Graphics by ACM SIGGRAPH, an ACM Fellow, an ACM Distinguished Speaker. and a Canadian Digital Media Pioneer; has been elected to the CHI Academy by ACM SIGCHI; and was given a 2020 CHI Social Impact Award. He was the Co-Chair of CHI+GI'87 and of CSCW'92.

RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS:  He designed and built Genesys, one of the first computer animation systems of significant generality (1966-9); this work helped launch the field of computer animation.  His computer-animated computer science teaching film, Sorting Out Sorting (1973-81) is an underground classic, loved by students worldwide; it helped launch the field of software visualization.  He and his students have also created innovative programs in fields as diverse as newspaper page layout, transportation systems modelling, software visualization, animated icons, movie design tools, collaborative editing, rich media webcasting and archiving, and speech aids for individuals with speaking challenges. His most recent research focused primarily on envisioning, designing, building, and evaluating technological aids for aging gracefully, intended variously for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, amnesia, vision loss, and stroke, and also for normally aging senior citizens.  

PUBLICATIONS AND BOOKS:  He has published over 200 research papers and articles. He is the author or co-author of seven books:
•    Baecker, R.M. and Buxton, W. (1987).  Readings in Human Computer Interaction: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
•.   Baecker, R.M. and Marcus, A. (1990).  Human Factors and Typography for More Readable Programs, ACM Press, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
•.   Baecker, R.M. (1993).  Readings in Groupware and Computer Supported Cooperative Work: Software to Facilitate Human-Human Collaboration, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
•.   Baecker, R.M., Grudin, J., Buxton, W., and Greenberg, S. (1995).  Readings in Human Computer Interaction: Toward the Year 2000, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
•.   Baecker, R.M. (2019). Computers and Society: Modern Perspectives, Oxford University Press.
•.   Baecker, R.M., Feldman, G., Langer, J., and Stein, J. (2020). The COVID-19 Solutions Guide: Health, Wealth, Technology, and the Human Spirit.
•    Baecker, R.M. (2021). Digital Dreams Now Nightmares: What We Must Do. 
He is also the founding Editor of the Synthesis Lectures on Technology and Health (Springer Nature, Publisher).

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