Internet pioneer Paul Baran dies at age 84 in California


Associated Press

LOS ANGELES

Paul Baran, whose work with packaging data in the 1960s has been credited with playing a role in the later development of the Internet, has died at age 84, his son said.

Baran died at his home in Palo Alto, Calif., Saturday night of complications from lung cancer, David Baran told The Associated Press on Sunday night.

Paul Baran is best known for the idea of “packet-switching,” in which data is bundled into small packages and sent through a network. Baran outlined the concept while working on Cold War issues for the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica in 1963 and 1964.

In 1969 the technology became a concept the Department of Defense used in creating the Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet, numerous reports on the subject said.

The idea had been so advanced at its development that private companies had passed on it.

“Paul wasn’t afraid to go in directions counter to what everyone else thought was the right or only thing to do,” Vinton Cerf, a vice president at Google and a colleague and longtime friend of Baran’s, told The New York Times, which first reported Baran’s death.

President George W. Bush presented him with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2008.

A year earlier, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, joining the likes of Thomas Edison.

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