Remembering The Man That Started The Internet: ARPANET Creator Robert William Taylor Dies At 85
Computer pioneer Robert William Taylor dies at the age of 85 at his home in Woodside, California according to various reports. He was a contributory figure in the early days of the Internet and the modern personal computer.
Although there have been numerous names attributed to the creation of the internet, none has made as many contributions as Taylor. The tech engineer worked for Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in 1966.
During that time Taylor was frustrated with how they communicated with researchers through inappropriate computer systems. Reportedly, he had to use three separate terminals to contact other members of ARPA.
His frustration eventually led him to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). According to Wikipedia, it was an early packet switching network that was first to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP. His innovation became the technical infrastructure of today's Internet.
Taylor predicted that ARPANET would one day become a useful and necessary utility for the public. In 1970 Taylor moved to Xerox's Alto Research Center.
During his stint with Xerox, he oversaw the design and creation of the Alto, the first personal computer to support an operating system based on on the GUI or the graphical user interface. Alto is also considered as the first functional personal computer at that era.
Taylor together with his team also developed the networking technology, Ethernet. His other achievements include a program called Bravo that would later become the foundation for Microsoft Word.
His other stints include a gig at NASA where he worked as a project manager. Taylor had a vital role in the creation of the computer mouse, which is an essential peripheral for Mac and Windows-based computers.
In the 1980s, Taylor ran the Digital Equipment Systems Research Laboratory in Palo Alto. He developed the AltaVista search engine in 1995, two years before Google's inception.
Taylor received major awards including one in 1998 where he was a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. In 2004, the National Academy of Engineering awarded Taylor and other PARC researchers for the development of the first networked computers. Taylor retired in 1996.