Paul Baran, Internet pioneer and Institute for the Future co-founder, RIP


9 Responses to “Paul Baran, Internet pioneer and Institute for the Future co-founder, RIP”

  1. noah django says:

    I just found out about this guy last month. I followed a link on BB to Ars Technica and fell down a rabbit hole for the night:

    “Baran was suggesting combining two previously isolated technologies: computers and communications. Odd as it might appear to readers in a digital age, these were disciplines so mutually distinct that Baran worried his project could fail for lack of staff capable of working in both areas.”

    the comments to that article contained these Baran-specific pages among the many others that I read that night:

    the man was a giant, and humble to the end. respect due. pour a little out for our homie.

  2. Anonymous says:


    • teapot says:

      Mad respect.

      “If you are not careful you can con yourself into believing that you did the most important part. But the reality is that each contribution has to follow onto previous work. Everything is tied to everything else.”
      ^When companies/people complain about their IP being stolen I always raise this point. Everyone’s work, whatever it may be, rests on the shoulders of giants.

      What a humble dude.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Actually, more than the internet: all the digital telecom/telephony systems use packet switching; as does any lan larger than a single segment (and for gigabit ethernet, each endpoint is it’s own segment – so everything is packet switched).

  4. Paul says:

    Sounds like a wonderfully humble guy. That’s a lovely analogy for the process of scientific/technical discovery and invention. One to remember.

  5. Ernunnos says:

    Most excellent quote. Thanks for bringing this interesting man and his interesting life to our attention.

  6. Rincewind says:

    A very humble man, but we owe him a debt of gratitude for the packet-switching technology he pioneered.

    If you haven’t read “Where wizards stay up late” then I highly recommend it. It covers a fair amount of Baran’s work, and is absolutely fascinating.

  7. zikman says:

    I love that photo

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