Alto: A personal computer

Chuck Thacker, Ed McCreight, Butler Lampson, Robert Sproull, and David Boggs


Citation: In Computer Structures: Principles and Examples, second edition, ed. Siewiorek, Bell and Newell, McGraw-Hill, 1981, pp 549-572. Also Xerox PARC report CSL-79-11, August 1979.

Links: Abstract, Acrobat. Here is an HTML version created by OCR for the benefit of search engines; it is not meant for human consumption.

Email: This paper is at



The Alto is a small computer system designed in early 1973 as an experiment in personal computing. Its principal characteristics, some of the design choices that led to the implementation, and some of the applications for which the Alto has been used are discussed.