Robert Taylor
Image: Garnder Campbell/Flickr

Short Bytes: The famous computer scientist Robert Taylor died last week at the age of 85. We should thank the internet pioneer for his contribution to the society. Taylor was behind the development of the government-funded ARPANET project which behaved as the roots of the gigantic internet we are using today.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee created the world wide web but we are able to use the web because of the American computer scientist Robert Taylor, aka Bob Taylor, who helped the world create the internet. On April 13, the pioneer aged 85 took his last breath at this house in Woodside, California.

Most of you might be knowing the internet is a successor of ARPANET which was the brainchild of Taylor. He was able to persuade the then ARPA director into investing in a network project that would combine various ARPA-funded projects which were physically isolated from each other.

Taylor supervised the development of ARPANET between 1965 and 1969 before moving to Xerox. Initially, he as an associate manager at a research facility (PARC) in Palo Alto. During Taylor’s tenure, Xerox was able to plug their internal network with the ARPANET. This was accompanied by computers with graphical user interfaces.

During his term at the Digital Equipment Corporation, Taylor teamed up with fellow scientists and created the System Research Center. At the SRC, the research team was able to craft multiprocessor workstations and Unix systems with multi-threading capabilities.

Taylor wasn’t only just responsible for doing the groundwork for the internet but he even had foreseen the state of the internet, although, not as detailed as people going live for no reason. The rise of botnets was one of his predictions.

Taylor wasn’t surprised when he saw the internet grow so big, he said he predicted it. However, he was concerned about the freedom of using the internet, that it doesn’t remain confined to the hands of a few. “Will it be freely available to everyone?” he asked. “If not, it will be a big disappointment.”

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