Vint Cerf is regarded as the "father of the internet" for his pioneering work in co-inventing TCP/IP, MCI Mail email platform, and the influential research at DARPA to name a few. He has continued to play a central role in the development of Internet and internet security technologies. In his current role as the chief Internet evangelist at Google, he is involved in identifying new technologies that can support the creation of advanced Internet-based services and products.
A brief bio
Born on June 23, 1943, in New Haven, Connecticut, Vinton Gray Cerf attended Van Nuys High School where he worked on the Apollo program at Rocketdyne. He also helped develop the statistical analysis software for F-1 engines. After receiving a mathematics degree from Stanford University, Cerf worked as a systems engineer at IBM supporting QUIKTRAN. He quit IBM later to complete his M.S. degree at UCLA in 1970 and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in computer science in 1972.
Contributions to the information technology world
He worked on the ARPANET project designed by Professor Leonard Kleinrock. This was the first of its kind network to be based on the novel packet switching method. Cerf worked between 1972 and 1976 at Stanford University as an assistant professor where he researched packet network interconnection protocols. He also co-designed with Bob Kahn, the DoD TCP/IP protocol.
The first TCP protocol was written and published in 1974 by Cerf along with Carl Sunshine and Yogen Dalal, called RFC 675 ( Specification of Internet Transmission Control Program).
Cerf left DARPA to become the Vice President at MCI Communications Corporation in 1982 where he was focused on developing MCI Mail. This was the first internet-connected commercial e-mail service. Cerf went on to develop information technologies at a non-profit corporation called Corporation for National Research Initiatives. Since 2005 he is serving as the “chief Internet evangelist” and vice president at Google Inc.
A long list of accolades and awards
Among the numerous honors Cerf has received are:
- The U.S. National Academy of Engineering’s Charles Stark Draper Prize in 2001,
- The Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005
- The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering in 2013
- CM Alan M. Turing award in 2004
Neither age (he is currently 75) nor his hearing deficiencies have slowed him down. Cerf states his goal is to find ways to make the internet more secure, safer, and more private. Having founded the PCI or People-Centered Internet along with Mei Lin Fung, Cerf is striving to identify projects that can improve the way people use the internet. These projects can include providing services to make it easier for people to find jobs, improve their health, safety, and economic stability and making information available in local languages.