May 5, 2006 12:38 PM PDT

Will the real Internet inventors please stand up?

Invent the Internet? Get famous.

Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, co-designers of the protocols used to transmit traffic across the Internet, this week join the likes of Guglielmo Marconi and Thomas Edison in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

A ceremony for the creators of ubiquitous inventions ranging from the rotary printing press to contraceptive pills is set to take place Friday and Saturday at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation's self-named museum in Akron, Ohio.

"Any holder of a U.S. patent is eligible to qualify" for the distinction, even if the holder is not a U.S. citizen, according to foundation spokeswoman Rini Paiva. Though clearly, honoree qualifications went a lot further than holding one mere patent.

Under the auspices of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Kahn and Cerf developed code to enable one system of computers to exchange information with another at a remote location. The team's protocols for transmitting packets of information were originally used by the federal government to relay data between military networks. Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, better known as TCP/IP, now defines how the Internet functions.

Last year, the two so-called Internet fathers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, for their invention.

Cerf joined search giant Google in September to recruit talent and develop new Internet architectures for Web applications like Google Earth.

Kahn, meanwhile, leads the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), a nonprofit organization that, among other things, supports the development of Internet protocols and research of high-speed networking.

Also being honored this week are Herman Affel and Lloyd Espenschied, inventors of coaxial cable. Cable companies such as Comcast use the copper wire for high-volume data transmissions such as TV and broadband Internet service.

Rounding out this year's tech sector inductees are Ali Javan for the Helium-neon laser, which is used in UPC checkout scanners; and Willard Boyle and George Smith for the charged-couple device (CCD), which is used in digital cameras.

A database of all inductee profiles can be found at Invent Now.

See more CNET content tagged:
Vint Cerf, The Walt Disney Co., IP, Google Inc., U.S.

9 comments

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Did Al Gore invented Gore-Tex?
Or was that the internet he invented?
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sorry Al, maybe next time ...
but, you've got my vote for the 'hanging chad'
Posted by Lolo Gecko (131 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Al Gore never claimed inventing the Internet
See snopes article: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp" target="_newWindow">http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp</a>

"he sponsored the 1988 National High-Performance Computer Act (which established a national computing plan and helped link universities and libraries via a shared network) and cosponsored the Information Infrastructure and Technology Act of 1992 (which opened the Internet to commercial traffic)."

So he didn't "invent" it, but he did play a large role in making the network technology into what we know as the Internet today.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
How about Tim Berners-Lee?
I can't remember Gore claiming inventing the internet although
others seem to think he did. Anyway, i hope the National
Inventors Hall of Fame in a near future will also remember Tim
Berners-Lee for inventing the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989,
or the internet as we know it. In 1990 he invented the first
webbrowser.

This was the real beginning of the internet as we all know it
today, making it populair with millions around the globe.

Find out more about Tim at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-" target="_newWindow">http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-</a>
Lee/
Posted by FP Imhof (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You mean the Internet as you know it
The Internet was around for many years before the WWW,
with applications like email, FTP and Usenet newsgroups.
Now there are additional applications like file sharing
and VoIP.
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Link Flag
A hall of fame
really isn't if everyone gets in...

This particular one is for 'patents in the US'...did Berners Lee patent the WWW in the US? Not sure.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
Berners-Lee story a little mythical
Most popular press credits the Webs invention to Tim Berners-Lee. While this may sound like heresy, Berners-Lee didnt invent anythinghe merely developed an application of SGML, which he called HTML, by choosing a limited set of object tags using SGML syntax. The reason all of our Web pages work is due to the invention of SGML. What we today call links to URLs or hypertext are simply SGML external entity references (part of the standard). In fact, the limitations of HTML were soon recognized and XML (and other layers/tools) were added to give the Web back some of the full power of SGML.

SGML, the machine-independent, object-oriented meta-language (ISO 8879) was actually invented over many years. It was initiated by the generic coding concept propounded by William Tunnicliffe (GCA) and later developed through the work of Charles Goldfarb, Sharon Adler (both of IBM), James Mason (Oakridge Labs), and William Davis (my partner at Teleprint, a SGML pioneer). Many others made significant contributions to the foundation of the SGML, such as: Yuri Rubinsky (SoftQuad), Pam Gennusa (and the DataLogic crowd), and a host of other volunteers. The Webs origins should also credit the essential network enablers (like Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn (TCP/IP), and Robert Metcalf (Ethernet)) that make the Web interconnections possible.

Berners-Lee should be properly credited and recognized for his selfless devotion to piloting the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and his current, truly inventive work on the Semantic Web. But credit for the invention of the Web should properly go to the pioneers of SGML. It would be helpful if more technically-oriented press did not gloss over where this marvelous tool we call the Web really came from; most people just arent aware of the group who invented the Webs foundations.
Posted by Caleb55 (1 comment )
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