Paul Baran

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Paul Baran
Born(1926-04-29)April 29, 1926
DiedMarch 26, 2011(2011-03-26) (aged 84)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materUCLA, Drexel Institute of Technology, Philadelphia
Known forPacket Switching
Spouse(s)Evelyn Murphy Baran, PhD
AwardsIEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, National Medal of Technology and Innovation, National Inventors Hall of Fame
Scientific career
InstitutionsRAND Corporation

Paul Baran (1926–2011) was an American engineer. He was one of the first people to work in developing computer networks. He invented packet switching networks. Later, he started several companies that made important parts of the Internet and other modern digital communication.

Paul Baran was born in Grodno, Poland (which is now in Belarus) on April 29, 1926.[1] His family moved to the United States in 1928.[2] He graduated from Drexel University in 1949 with a degree in electrical engineering. He did technical work on the first commercial computers in the United States.[3] He got a Masters degree in engineering from UCLA. His thesis was on character recognition.[1]

In 1959, Baran joined RAND Corporation. He designed a "survivable" communications system that could keep working across long distances even if hit by nuclear weapons.[4] Baran proved that by dividing communication into short packages, the packages could be easily rerouted when a part of the network was lost. Special computers (called "routers") would steer the packages around the network toward their final destinations.[5] This later became the basic design of the internet.

In 1968, Baran was a founder of the Institute for the Future, and then involved in other networking technologies developed in Silicon Valley. He founded a number of high technology companies.

Baran died in Palo Alto, California at the age of 84 on March 26, 2011,[1][6] from lung cancer.

Awards and honors[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Katie Hafner (March 27, 2011). "Paul Baran, Internet Pioneer, Dies at 84". The New York Times.
  2. David Ira Snyder (August 4, 2009). "Morris "Moshe" Baran (1884 - 1979)". Genealogy of the Baran family. web site. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Paul Baran - Franklin Laureate Database". The Franklin Institute Awards - Laureate Database. Philadelphia, PA: The Franklin Institute. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  4. "Internet pioneer Paul Baran passes away". BBC News. March 28, 2011. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  5. Paul Baran (1962). "On Distributed Communications Networks". RAND Corporation Papers, Document P-2626. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  6. "Packet switching inventor Paul Baran dies aged 84". ZDNet UK. March 29, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  7. "IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. p. 2. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  8. "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
  9. "The National Medal of Technology and Innovation 2007 Laureates". The United States Patent and Trademark Office. January 7, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  10. "In Memoriam: Paul Baran MS '59". UCLA Engineering web site. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved March 28, 2011.

Other websites[change | change source]