Vint Cerf

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Dr. Vinton Cerf.

Vinton Gray Cerf (born June 23, 1943 in New Haven, Connecticut) is an American computer scientist who is commonly referred to as the "father of the Internet" for his key technical and managerial role in the creation of the Internet and the TCP/IP protocols which it uses.

He was also the founder (in 1992) of the Internet Society (ISOC), which is intended to both promote the views of ordinary users of the Internet, and also serve as an umbrella body for the technical groups developing the Internet (such as the Internet Engineering Task Force). He served as the first chair of the Internet Society, handing that role over in 1999.

He suffers from hearing impairment, and serves on the board of Gallaudet University; he received an award from the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He and his family reside in Virginia, USA.


As a teenager, he attended Van Nuys High School. After expressing an early interest in computers, he attended Stanford University, taking summer jobs at a number of companies such as North American Aviation and Rocketdyne. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Stanford in 1965.

After graduation, he went to work for IBM, but soon decided that he wanted to learn more about computers. In 1967, he returned to school, enrolling in UCLA's computer science program, where he was a student under Leonard Kleinrock. He received Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in 1970 and 1972.

While at UCLA, he worked on the ARPANET, the earliest packet switched computer network. During this period (as well as later), he was the author of several RFCs. He continued working on computer networks when he became a professor at Stanford University in 1972.

Shortly thereafter, in 1973, Bob Kahn (whom Cerf already knew, since Kahn had been in charge of the ARPANET project at its prime contractor, Bolt, Beranek and Newman) and Cerf started thinking about how to connect together several different packet switching networks, into what we now call an internetwork. Their 1974 paper, A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication is now recognized as the fundamental document in this (then-new) field.

Soon afterwards, in 1976, he was asked to move to the United States Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to run a research and development program in this area. During his tenure, from 1976 to 1982, he played a key role in leading the development of the TCP/IP protocols and the Internet.

After that, as vice president of MCI Digital Information Services from 1982 to 1986, he led the engineering of MCI Mail, the first commercial email service to be connected to the Internet.

He then rejoined Kahn at the latter's Corporation for National Research Initiatives in 1986, staying until 1994. While there, he worked on a number of projects, such as digital libraries and knowbots.

He returned to MCI in 1994, as the Senior Vice President of Internet Architecture, where he remained until 2005. On September 8, 2005 Google Inc. announced that it hired Cerf as "Chief Internet Evangelist" [1].

He joined the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 1999, and is serving a term until 2007; he is currently the ICANN Chair.

Vint Cerf is also a member of the Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov IT Advisory Council, assigned with a Presidential Decree on March 8, 2002. [2].

He is also working on the Interplanetary Protocol, together with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It will be a new standard to communicate from planet to planet, using radio/laser communications that are highly tolerant to signal degradation. [3].

Awards and honors

He has received a number of honorary degrees, including Doctorates from the University of the Balearic Islands, ETH in Switzerland, Capitol College and Gettysburg College.

In 1995 he was awarded the Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Award. In 1996 he was award the SIGCOMM Award for "contributions to the Internet span[ing] more than 25 years, from development of the fundamental TCP/IP protocols".

In December 1997 he, along with his partner Robert E. Kahn, was presented with the National Medal of Technology by President Bill Clinton, for his accomplishments in the creation of the Internet and TCP/IP.

In 2001, he was awarded the Strowger Award from Ohio University's J. W. McClure School of Communication Systems Management. In October 2002 he, together with Bob Kahn, Larry Roberts and Tim Berners-Lee, was awarded the Premio Principe de Asturias de Investigacion Cientifica, the most distinguished Spanish award.

In early 2005 it was announced that Cerf and Kahn were the winners of the ACM's Turing Award (the computer science field's equivalent of the Nobel Prize) for 2004, for their "pioneering work on internetworking, including .. the Internet's basic communications protocols .. and for inspired leadership in networking."

In November 2005, Cerf and Kahn were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush for their contributions to the creation of the Internet. [4]

Partial bibliography

  • Vinton Cerf, Zero Text Length EOF Message (RFC 0013, August 1969)
  • Vinton Cerf, IMP-IMP and HOST-HOST Control Links (RFC 0018, September 1969)
  • Vinton Cerf, ASCII format for network interchange (RFC 0020, October 1969)
  • Vinton Cerf, Host-host control message formats (RFC 0022, October 1969)
  • Vinton Cerf, Data transfer protocols (RFC 0163, May 1971)
  • Vinton Cerf, PARRY encounters the DOCTOR (RFC 0439, January 1973)
  • Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn, A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication (IEEE Transactions on Communications, May 1974)


^  2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.

External links


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