The man who invented data packets

Remembering Paul Baran and his work in networking.

03/31/2011


I read the obituaries in the paper every day, because it’s interesting to see who turns up. From time to time, a figure appears that has had an impact on our world of automation. Paul Baran was such a figure. If you don’t recognize the name (I confess that I didn’t), you’ll be forgiven, but you should know his work. Baran invented (more or less) the idea of data packets for sending information between computers. He and his colleagues found that using asynchronous digital rather than analog signals would be better, but this was pretty early in its development at the time. These ideas are pretty basic to the Internet and Ethernet, which means we use it every day. This happened back in the 1960s as part of a project to create decentralized networking robust enough to survive nuclear attack. He did this work while working for the RAND Corporation.

Even in 1966 he imagined how such capabilities would change our lives, and suggested that by 2000 we’d be shopping and getting our news online.

If you have some time, there is a fascinating video of Baran discussing how all this took place. It will take you back to the scary days of the cold war. It’s interesting to see how those motivations gave us what we have today.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
Selecting the best controller from several viewpoints; System integrator advice for the IIoT; TSN and real-time Ethernet; Questions to ask when selecting a VFD; Action items for an aging PLC/DCS
Robot advances in connectivity, collaboration, and programming; Advanced process control; Industrial wireless developments; Multiplatform system integration
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.

(copy 5)

click me