George Bush announced that Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the nation’s highest civil award.
According to Wikipedia, The Internet protocol suite came from work done by DARPA in the early 1970s. After doing the pioneering ARPANET, DARPA started work on a number of other data transmission technologies, including packet radio, and satellite links. Wanting to be able to communicate across them, Robert E. Kahn of DARPA recruited Vint Cerf of Stanford University to work with him on the problem of connecting multiple networks, using different access protocols. By the summer of 1973, they had soon worked out a fundamental reformulation, where the differences between network protocols were hidden by using a common internetwork protocol, and instead of the network being responsible for reliability, as in the ARPANET, the hosts became responsible.
Thursday, the U.S. president announced that the men will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. They received also the 2004 A.M. Turing Award which is a equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the computing industry.
Asked about the time they invented the protocol, Kahn said: “At the time, we saw this as an exciting technology challenge and research project. You have to realize that there wasn’t anything known as the personal computer. We didn’t know where things would lead.”
After thirteen years with DARPA, Robert Kahn left to found the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) in 1986, and as of 2003 is the Chairman, CEO and President. CNRI is a not-for-profit organization which is intended to provide leadership and funding for research and development of the National Information Infrastructure.
Vint Cerf 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. He is 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.