2016-03-07 (Monday)

Today, I learned that:

The world is in mourning. We just learned that the inventor of e-mail, Ray Tomlinson, died last Saturday, March 5, at the age of 74.

Although I did not know him personally, I remember very well a course we had at my university called “Computer networks”. Today, it would not make much fuss, but mind you, I took this course in 1976, when computers in networks were not all abundant as they are today. I had been given the task of searching for articles about a certain network called ARPANET, and I found that there was a Boston company, BBN (Bolt, Beranek and Newman) that had been the pioneers in the development of ARPANET. ARPANET was later renamed DARPANET and finally Internet. (Update on 2016-09-29: Today I published the report I made back in 1976, see reference # 4 below.)

Ray worked at BBN and was the one that suggested and performed the first task of transfering messages from one computer to another, and attributed the @ sign to separate user and computer in the e-mail address.

ray-tomlinson

Ray Tomlinson. Photo by BBN Technologies

According to the Internet Hall of Fame,”Tomlinson’s email program brought about a complete revolution, fundamentally changing the way people communicate, including the way businesses, from huge corporations to tiny mom-and-pop shops, operate and the way millions of people shop, bank, and keep in touch with friends and family, whether they are across town or across oceans. Today, tens of millions of email-enabled devices are in use every day. Email remains the most popular application, with over a billion and a half users spanning the globe and communicating across the traditional barriers of time and space.”

See also references #1, #2 and #3 below for further information.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Email inventor Ray Tomlinson dies aged 74

2: Ray Tomlinson on Wikipedia

3: Official Biography: Raymond Tomlinson

4: ARPANET

+: What did you learn in school today ?

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