Atherton: Paul Baran named to Internet Hall of Fame

By Dave Boyce

Almanac Staff Writer

Inventor Paul Baran, who died last year, was inducted Monday into the Internet Hall of Fame in Geneva, Switzerland.

Mr. Baran, who was a resident of Atherton, is credited with inventing techniques for digital packet switching, an elegant concept fundamental to the efficiency and hardiness of the World Wide Web.

He is one of 33 people inducted into the Hall of Fame on April 23.

Among those joining Mr. Baran in this inaugural induction are World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, Internet protocol inventor Vint Cerf, Linux open-source operating system inventor Linus Torvalds, and former vice president Al Gore, who was "a key proponent of sponsoring legislation that funded the expansion of and greater public access to the Internet."

Of the three categories of inductees -- Internet Pioneers, Global Connectors and Innovators -- Mr. Baran and Mr. Cerf were included as pioneers, Mr. Berners-Lee and Mr. Torvalds as innovators, and Mr. Gore as a global connector.

Mr. Baran is a recipient of the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. In 2007, he was named to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio.

He co-founded the Palo Alto-based Institute for the Future and, according to collaborator Stephen Millard, started seven companies, five of which went public. Mr. Millard talked with the Almanac for a 2007 cover story associated with Mr. Baran's National Inventors Hall of Fame induction.

Technologies based on his inventions include high-speed Internet access (DSL), wireless networking, and Internet phone service, Mr. Millard said. He is credited with inventing the first metal detector.

In a nutshell, packet switching takes a digital entity such as an e-mail attachment or the playing of a Youtube video and disassembles it into thousands of meticulously identified packets of bits and bytes. Those packets are then sent along random paths through a mesh-like network of servers, and reassembled in the right order at the right time at the right computer.

"The Internet, which connects more than two billion people around the world today, is the result of many important contributions from creative and visionary individuals over the past several decades," said Raul Echeberria, the chair of the Internet Society's Board of Trustees. "The 2012 Internet Hall of Fame celebrates the accomplishments and advancements of 33 talented people who have made significant contributions to the design, development, and expansion of the Internet."

Go to this link for more information on the Internet Hall of Fame.


Like this comment
Posted by RUKiddingMe?
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Al Gore is in the internet hall of fame because he thought it was a good idea and voted for the legislation? How about the other members of Congress who voted for it? Hey, I thought it was a great idea, too. Can I submit my name? Anybody else want to throw their hats into the fray? What a way to minimize the effort and talents of those who truly made the internet happen--Baran, Cerf, Berners-Lee, Torvalds--The internet would have happened without Gore, but maybe not without those true pioneers. This is really pathetic. Next thing you know, they will start giving out Nobel prizes to people who have not yet done anything. Imagine the outrage!

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Food Party! 420
By Laura Stec | 6 comments | 1,890 views

What Are Your Gifts that Must Be Shared?
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 919 views


Readers' Choice ballot is here

It’s time to decide what local business is worthy of the title “Almanac Readers' Choice” — and you get to decide! Cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 29th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 19th issue of The Almanac.