Baecker, Ron

Ronald Baecker at the International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (INTERACT) in Cambridge, England, August 27-31, 1990.

Ron Baecker (1942 – ) is a prolific researcher and educator whose long career has produced innovations in a wide spectrum of fields, from computer graphics to responsibility and ethics in human-computer interactions to the development of using an icon for a cursor. He holds two patents in the display of computer-generated objects and has produced more than 100 books, articles, and instructional videos in addition to educating dozens of innovators in the field of HCI. His new book is Computers and Society: Modern Perspectives (OUP, 2019).

His recent work includes founding the Technologies for Ageing Gracefully Lab, which seeks to develop “mental prostheses” to assist older adults and support autonomy through carefully-designed interfaces and software structures. Baecker was elected to the SIGCHI Academy in 2005, made a Fellow of the ACM in 2011, and given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Association of Computer Science in 2015.


“Ron productively bridged the graphics and HCI communities, promoting animation and other strategies to convey insights, such as in his famed video comparing sorting algorithms.  Later in his career, Ron admirably studied older adults and users with disabilities.  Ron worked hard and has a long history of inspiring University of Toronto students and many of the rest of us.” Ben Shneiderman


  • Ph.D. in Computer Science, MIT (1969)
  • Work in Advanced Mathematics, University of Heidelberg (1964 1965)
  • M.S. in Electrical Engineering, MIT (1964)
  • B.S. in Physics, MIT (1963)


  • Founder and Director, Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab (2008 Present), Principal Researcher, Technology Research Center (1990 Present), Professor of Computer Science (1972 Present), University of Toronto
  • Affiliate Scientist, Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Toronto (2004 Present)
  • Bell University Laboratories Chair in Human-Computer Interaction (2002 2011)
  • Founder and Chief Scientist, Knowledge Media Design Institute (1999 Present)
  • Founder and CEO, Expresto Software Corp. (May 1998  October 2002)
  • Director, Dynamic Graphics Project, Computer Systems Research Institute (1985Present & 19721981)
  • Chairman of the Board, Human Computing Resources Corporation (1977 1990)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland (1971 1972)
  • Commissioned Officer, US Public Health Service, Division of Computer Research and Technology, National Institutes of Health (NIH) (1969 1971)


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