Apr 17, 2017

Internet pioneer Robert Taylor dies

While working at the Pentagon in the 1960s, he instigated the creation of Arpanet - a computer network that initially linked together four US research centres, and later evolved into the internet. In his role as the director of the organisation's Information Processing Techniques Office, Mr Taylor wanted to address the fact different institutions were duplicating research on the limited number of computer mainframes available. Mr Taylor was frustrated that the Pentagon could only communicate with three research institutions, whose timeshared computers it helped fund, by using three incompatible systems. "The programmed digital computer... can change the nature and value of communication even more profoundly than did the printing press and the picture tube, for, as we shall show, a well-programmed computer can provide direct access both to informational resources and to the processes for making use of the resources." Once Arpanet was up and running in 1969, Mr Taylor left the Pentagon and the following year he founded the Computer Science Laboratory of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

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