News

Internet trailblazer Paul Baran dies

Palo Alto resident pioneered early networking technology

Paul Baran, 84, a resident of Palo Alto, died Saturday (March 26) of lung cancer. He is best known as a co-creator of the technology behind the Arpanet, a precursor to the modern Internet.

He was born in Poland and grew up in Philadelphia, Penn., his daughter-in-law, Jane Baran, said.

He earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Drexel University and a master's degree from UCLA.

While working at RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., he developed the idea of packaging data into discrete bundles, which are then sent on various paths around a network and reassembled at their destination, according to a New York Times article.

The U.S. Department of Defense eventually built its Arpanet network, which was eventually replaced by the modern Internet, based on the ideas of Baran and others.

"I'm tremendously proud of him. It was an entire change of thinking," his son David Baran said of his father's groundbreaking work.

He also founded a nonprofit and seven companies. He and his family moved to the Palo Alto area in 1970, David Baran said.

His wife, Evelyn, predeceased him in 2007. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, David and Jane Baran of Atherton; three grandchildren; and his companion, Ruth Rothman.

Related article:

Paul Baran defined the landscape for modern communication networks

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

RIP, Paul .. the world will miss you, but will forever be blessed by your work.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Rose International Market reopening soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 11 comments | 5,634 views

The HSR Decision
By Steve Levy | 8 comments | 1,269 views

We need a new garage downtown Palo Alto -- forget about being politically correct
By Diana Diamond | 7 comments | 1,156 views

Couples: Mirror, Mirror on the . . . Fight?!
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 985 views

Know Before You Buy: Understanding Senior Living Facility Agreements
By Max Greenberg | 0 comments | 615 views

 

Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details