Internet pioneer Paul Baran dies
Baran's invention of packet switching in the 1960s enabled computer-to-computer data transmission.
San Francisco: Internet pioneer Paul Baran, whose invention of packet switching in the 1960s enabled computer-to-computer data transmissions, has died at the age of 84 after a battle with lung cancer.
Baran came up with the idea for "message blocks" and "hot potato routing" through a decentralized network while working for the RAND Corporation.
He later implemented them when he was hired by the Department of Defence to develop the ARPANet, the resilient digital communications network that evolved into the internet.
The work was part of the country's Cold War planning, designed to ensure the success of communications even if large parts of a network were destroyed.
Baran's idea involved splitting up files into small packets that could be sent separately and reconstituted at the receiving end, the technique by which most information is still relayed over the net.
"Paul wasn't afraid to go in directions counter to what everyone else thought was the right or only thing to do," Vinton Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet and a longtime friend of Baran, told The New York Times.
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