Bill Atkinson (born 1951) is an American computer engineer and photographer. Atkinson worked at Apple Computer from 1978 to 1990. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego, where Apple Macintosh developer Jef Raskin was one of his professors. Atkinson continued his studies as a graduate student in neurochemistry at the University of Washington, nearly getting a PhD .
Atkinson was part of the Apple Macintosh development team, and was the creator of the ground-breaking MacPaint application, among others. He also designed and implemented QuickDraw, the fundamental toolbox that the Lisa and Macintosh used for graphics. QuickDraw's performance was essential for the success of the Macintosh's graphical user interface. He also was one of the main designers of the Lisa and Macintosh user interfaces. Atkinson also conceived, designed and implemented HyperCard, the first popular hypermedia system.
Around 1990, General Magic's founding, with Bill Atkinson as one of the three co-founders, met the following press in Byte magazine:
The obstacles to General Magic's success may appear daunting, but General Magic is not your typical start-up company. Its partners include some of the biggest players in the worlds of computing, communications, and consumer electronics, and it's loaded with top-notch engineers who have been given a clean slate to reinvent traditional approaches to ubiquitous worldwide communications.
In 2007 Atkinson began working as an outside developer with Numenta, a startup working on computer intelligence. On his work there Atkinson said, "what Numenta is doing is more fundamentally important to society than the personal computer and the rise of the Internet."
Some of Atkinson's noteworthy contributions to the field of computing include:
- Macintosh QuickDraw and Lisa LisaGraf
- Atkinson independently discovered the Midpoint circle algorithm for fast drawing of circles by using the sum of consecutive odd numbers. "
- Marching ants
- The Double click
- Menu bar
- The Selection lasso
- Atkinson dithering
- Bill Atkinson PhotoCard
Atkinson now works as a nature photographer.
By Dean Hanley
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