Q: What is the most important thing that's happened in computing in the past 10 years?
A: Computing for everyone. Now, people can use computers at home or on the go--via laptops or smartphones--for personal work or entertainment.
Q: By the end of your career, where do you think computer science will have taken us? What are you working on that might contribute toward that?
A: Computers were first used in companies, by a small number of specialists. Then, they became accessible to the public; however, in order for consumers to benefit from their power, usability features had to be implemented. Then, once browsers were created, Internet access became ubiquitous.
I completed my PhD thesis on hypertext systems in 1994, just before browsers became popular. I have also contributed work in user interface design, and have taught university courses in this area.
Q: Who is your favorite historical figure? Why?
A: Napoleon. He promoted the modern state in France and then imposed it in Europe. I also admire his personal qualities as a leader and an army general. His return to the throne in 1815 due to his popularity and charisma is one of the most fascinating events in history.
Q: If you weren't working in the computer science field, what would you be doing instead?
A: I would work in applied mathematics.
Q: What is your favorite type of music?
A: I like various types of music, but mostly pop-rock music composed from 1965-1975. There was so much creativity and musicality in that period of time that no two songs in the charts were the same.