Paul Baran, Founding Father of the Internet, Dies at 84 - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 03-29-2011, 12:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Paul Baran, Founding Father of the Internet, Dies at 84

The reason you're reading this right now is in part because of Paul Baran, one of the pioneers of the modern day Internet. Baran was born on April 29, 1926 in Poland before his family relocated to Philadelphia in 1928. He passed away over the weekend at the age of 84 due to complications arising from lung cancer, and though he will be missed, his legacy lives on every time you hop online.

In 1959, Baran received his Masters degree in engineering from UCLA and immediately began work at RAND Corporation. It was there that he and two others came up with the idea of packaging data into discrete bundles called "message blocks" to be sent around a network in a system known as "packet switching."

According to The New York Times, Baran's big idea was to build a distributed communications network, one that would be nearly impervious to disruption because it would contain redundant routes for messages if a particular path failed or was destroyed. He approached AT&T with the idea in the mid-1960s but was told his system would not work.

Not only would his idea work, but the government proved it in 1969 when it built the Arpanet, essentially an early version of the Internet based on Baran's ideas. Even today, the Internet is still based in part on packet switching.

You can read much more about this brilliant man here.

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