The Father of Internet

Who is regarded as the Father of the Internet? Why? Contributions? Positions held? Any other possible candidates and their contributions. Current activities if any. Show your sources.

Vinton Gray “Vint” Cerf is known as “The Father of Internet” for his role and contribution in developing the TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and IP (Internet Protocol) protocol standards that form the structure of the Internet and enables different computer networks to share information. Cerf is a well known personality in the computer industry because of his enormous contribution to the industry. The core idea was to enclose packets in “Datagrams” that would operate like envelopes containing letters. Gateway computers would simply read the delivery information contained in the “Datagrams” and deliver the contents to the host computers, which would open the envelope and read the actual contents of the packet. TCP allowed networks to be joined into a mesh of networks which is now called internet. (Reardon, 2005). In December, 1994, People magazine identified Cerf as one of that year's "25 Most Intriguing People." (Webmaster, 2009)

There were three nominations for the position of “The Father of Internet”, namely, Louis Pouzin, Vinton Cerf and Robert E. Kahn. Louis Pouzin is known for his invention - the datagram and designed the first packet communications network. Louis Pouzin also formed the first form of command-line interface. His work was broadly used by Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf and many others in the development of Internet and TCP/IP protocols. Robert Elliot Kahn along with Vinton G. Cerf invented the TCP and IP. Robert Elliot Kahn is also sometimes referred as “Father of Internet” for his joint contribution.

Vinton Cerf is currently the vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google since 2005. He is the former senior vice president of Technology Strategy for MCI. Cerf was vice president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) from 1986-1994. He also served as chairman of the board of the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) from 2000-2007. Before Cerf joining Google, he was working in DARPA (US Department of Defence’s Advanced Research Projects Agency) and MCI. During his tenure from 1976-1982 with the DARPA, he played an important role leading the development of Internet and Internet-related packet data and security technologies. In MCI Digital Information Services from 1982-1986, he as Vice President led the engineering of MCI Mail, the first commercial email service to be connected to the internet.  (Pillai, 2005). Cerf also served as founding president of the Internet Society from 1992-1995 and in 1999 served as chairman of the board.  (Unknown, 2008). Cerf is also a chairman of the IPv6 forum which raises awareness of the new Internet Protocol.

He is currently on the board of advisors of Scientists and Engineers for America - an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government.  Cerf is also on the board of advisors of “The Hyperwords Company Ltd of the UK”. This organization works to make the web more interactive and which has produced the free Firefox add-on called “Hyperwords”. During 2008, Cerf chaired the IDNAbis working group of the IETF.

Vinton Cerf is a recipient of numerous awards and commendations in connection to his contribution to the computer industry. His contributions was recognized and awarded “The U.S. National Medal of Technology” in 1997 by President Clinton(Dr. Robert E. Kahn Awarded National Medal of Technology, 1997), “The ACM Alan M. Turing Award” in 2004 sometimes called “Nobel Prize of Computer Science” (Jaques, 2005) and “The Presidential Medal of Freedom” (Reardon, 2005) in 2005 by President George Bush. In April 2008, Cerf and Kahn received prestigious Japan prize.

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