Vinton Cerf

Priestley Award

Tuesday, September 25, 2007Priestleyposter
7:00 p.m. – Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium

Social, Technical and Economic Consequences of the Internet Evolution

Vinton Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the internet, will discuss new internet products and services that may be appearing over the next decade. He will also explore the business consequences of dramatic changes in the economics of computing, networking and international demographics. Dr. Cerf will receive the Priestley award for his key technical and managerial role in the creation of the Internet, in particular, for leading the development of the TCP/IP protocols. Co-sponsored by the mathematics and computer science department.

Issue in Context
It is difficult to identify anything that has changed our lives to the extent that the Internet has. While the 19th century industrial revolution led to manufacturing prowess, expanding GDP and an increase in per capita purchasing power, the technological revolution which so much of Dr.Cerf’s work represents has captured the essence of human evolution and has taken us places previously incomprehensible. Who would have imagined that we could one day monitor the progress of our washer/dryer from our office desk? Who would have imagined that we could one day browse BBC online from the moon? These ideas are now, or soon to become, reality. The Internet has transformed international commerce, communication and entertainment, and with the prospect of interplanetary internet access on the horizon, it appears that the information age has only just begun. The Internet has empowered so many and so much that in 2006 Time magazine voted “you” as person of the year largely due to broadcast yourself websites such as We have the potential to become a largely paperless world with electronic billing and mail which will allow us to protect our environment and help slow global warming. It seems almost impossible to describe the seemingly infinite ways in which the internet has changed our world. If we return to the question “who would have imagined…?” the answer is Vinton Cerf.

About the Speaker VintonCert
Vinton Cerf is the vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, Inc. where he is responsible for identifying new technologies to support the development of advanced, Internet-based products and services. Cerf is the co-designer with Robert Khan of TCP/IP protocols and the basic architecture of the internet.

While serving as a professor at Stanford University in 1973 Vinton Cerf began to think about how to connect several different packet switching networks, into what we now call an internetwork. In 1974 after much exploration, Cerf and co-designer Robert Khan composed a paper titled “A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication” which is now recognized as the fundamental document in this field. In 1976 Cerf was asked to take a position with the United States Department of Home Security’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While serving with the U.S Department of Defense (DOD) Cerf played a key role in leading the development of the TCP/IP protocols and the Internet. Rumor has it that the term “Surfing the net” originated from the first data sent over the Internet by Vinton Cerf during his time with the DOD.

In 1997, Vinton Cerf received the U.S. National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton in recognition of his contributions to technology and in 2005 he received the highest civilian honor bestowed by the U.S. government, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his work in transforming global commerce, entertainment and communication. Cerf holds a degree in mathematics from Stanford University and has M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of California at Los Angeles. Cerf is currently working on the “Interplanetary Network,” a project of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, which aims to extend the Internet into outer space for planet-to-planet communications.

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