November 4, 2005 3:31 PM PST

Internet fathers get presidential medal

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Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf, who developed the TCP/IP protocols used to transmit traffic across the Internet, next week will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil award.

President George Bush announced the recipients on Thursday. The Net's founders are two of several recipients of the award, including such prominent figures as Muhammad Ali, the three-time heavyweight-boxing champion and gold medalist at the 1960 Olympic Games; Carol Burnett, actress and comedian; and Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve for the past 18 years.

Vint Cerf

The two men were honored earlier this year with the 2004 A.M. Turing Award, widely considered to be the computing field's equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Cerf and Kahn developed the TCP or transmission control protocol in 1973 for the US military while working for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA.

The main idea was to enclose packets in "datagrams" that would act something like envelopes containing letters. Gateway computers would simply read the delivery information contained in the datagrams and deliver the contents to host computers, which would "open" the envelope and read the actual contents of the packet. TCP allowed networks to be joined into a network of networks, or what we now call the Internet.

The protocol was later refined and split into two parts called TCP/IP. The protocol has gone on to become the standard for all Internet communication.

Robert Kahn

"At the time, we saw this as an exciting technology challenge and research project," Kahn said during an interview while attending the Marconi Society's symposium in New York City on Friday. "You have to realize that there wasn't anything known as the personal computer. We didn't know where things would lead."

After working for DARPA for 13 years, Kahn became chairman, CEO and president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1986 to provide leadership and funding for research and development of the National Information Infrastructure.

Cerf is now working for Internet search giant Google helping the company develop architectures, systems and standards for next-generation applications. Prior to Google, Cerf worked at MCI, previously WorldCom, for most of his career, with an eight-year break to work at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives.

He is also working on a new set of communication protocols in deep space for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The project is designed to create an Internet communications connection between planets. He also serves as the chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN, an organization which oversees the Domain Name System (DNS) and the network architecture he helped invent.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom will be presented at the White House on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005.


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Assumptions from just a title
I thought there for a moment that Bush was going to give an award to Al Gore....... Sorry, someone had to say it.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Gore never claimed he invented the internet
His quote was taken out of context. He mearly said that he voted on some bills that helped the internet along, of course this was quite a bit after it initially started.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
Slip some LSD into chimpy's beer, will you guys?
Or, for god's sake, take a stand and push the medals back in
Chimpy's face on the grounds of the 2000 dead and 15,000
seriously wounded Americans and god knows how many Iraqis.
Posted by 203129769353146603573853850462 (97 comments )
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Oh, get off of it!
These guys transformed the world. Of course, they never even dreamed that the TCP/IP protocol would still be around in 2005, but it was their hard work that enables us to even post our comments to this page.
What on earth does that achievement have to do with Iraq?? NOTHING. Yes, we are at war. Yes, the war was started based on a lie. Yes, the Iraq war is going to turn into another Vietnam. Yes, the little man in the White House went after Iraq in a feeble attempt to avenge his moronic father's mistake. But, again, what does that have to do with their achievement? NOTHING.
These men did something that has changed the daily lives of BILLIONS of people! Let them have their time in the spotlight. They SO deserve it.
Posted by thenet411 (415 comments )
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