TITLE: Gordon Bell and MyLifeBits
SPEAKER: Gordon Bell
EVENT DATE: 05/05/2010
RUNNING TIME: 83 minutes
The advent of personal computing devices such as PCs and smart phones with terabyte storage has enable the capture, recording and recall of everything a person reads, writes and hears. These are the new records and artifacts of the 21st century digital person.
Since 1998 Gordon Bell of Microsoft Research has worked on MyLifeBits, a system to digitally store everything in a person's life, including accumulated and current articles, books, correspondence, financial and legal records, memorabilia, photos, telephone calls, time-lapse photos, video and web pages. MyLifeBits is both an experiment in lifetime storage and a software research effort.
For archivists, exponentially increasing amounts of personal digital artifacts will soon arrive seeking immortality at the portals of museums and libraries, providing a new challenge to institutions accustomed to dealing with an analog person's boxes of papers and memorabilia of past millennia. Organizing, retrieving, preserving and protecting these fleeting, bit-based artifacts over the long-term is the contemporary archivist's greatest challenge.
Bell's talk touched on the project's history and discussed the research challenges and the wide-ranging social and personal benefits of the MyLifeBits technology, especially as it pertains to cultural memory institutions.
Speaker Biography: Gordon Bell spent 23 years (1960-1983) at Digital Equipment Corporation as Vice President of Research and Development, where he was responsible for Digital's products. He was the architect of various mini- and time-sharing computers (e.g. the PDP-6) and led the development of DEC's VAX and the VAX Computing Environment. Bell has been involved in, or responsible for, the design of many products at Digital, Encore, Ardent, and a score of other companies. He has been involved in the design of about 30 multiprocessors. He is a founding board member of The Computer History Museum at 1401 Shoreline, Mountain View, CA, established in 1999. The museum's world-class artifact collection came from the former Computer Museum, Boston that he co-founded, 1979 with Gwen Bell that originated in 1975 with the now deceased Digital Equipment Corporation that became part of HP in the lat2 1990s. He became a fellow of the Museum on 22 October 2003.