World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Vinton Cerf

Vint Cerf
Vilnius, September 2010
Born Vinton Gray Cerf
(1943-06-23) June 23, 1943 (age 71)
New Haven, Connecticut
Residence USA
Citizenship United States of America
Fields Computer science
Institutions IBM,[1] UCLA,[1] Stanford University,[1] DARPA,[1] MCI,[1][2] CNRI,[1] Google[3]
Alma mater Stanford University (B.S.)
UCLA (M.S. & Ph.D.)
Thesis Doctoral advisor Gerald Estrin[4]
Known for TCP/IP
Internet Society
Notable awards National Medal of Technology (1997)
Prince of Asturias Award (2002)
Turing Award (2004)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005)
Japan Prize (2008)
Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (2013)

Vinton Gray "Vint" Cerf[1] (/ˈsɜrf/; born June 23, 1943) is an American computer scientist, who is recognized as one of[5] "the fathers of the Internet",[6] sharing this title with American computer scientist Bob Kahn.[7][8] His contributions have been acknowledged and lauded, repeatedly, with honorary degrees and awards that include the National Medal of Technology,[1] the Turing Award,[9] the Presidential Medal of Freedom,[10] and membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

In the early days, Cerf was a program manager for the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding various groups to develop TCP/IP technology. When the Internet began to transition to a commercial opportunity during the late 1980s, Cerf moved to MCI where he was instrumental in the development of the first commercial email system (MCI Mail) connected to the Internet.

Cerf was instrumental in the funding and formation of ICANN from the start. He waited in the wings for a year before he stepped forward to join the ICANN Board, eventually becoming chairman.

Cerf was elected as the president of the Association for Computing Machinery in May 2012, [11] and in August 2013 he joined the Council on CyberSecurity's Board of Advisors.[12]

Cerf went to Van Nuys High School along with Jon Postel and Steve Crocker; he wrote the former's obituary. Both were also instrumental in the creation of the Internet.

Cerf is also known for his sartorial style, typically appearing in three-piece suit—a rarity in an industry known for its casual dress norms.[13]

Life and career

Cerf was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Muriel (née Gray), a homemaker, and Vinton Thurston Cerf, an aerospace executive.[14][15] Cerf's first job after obtaining his B.S. degree in Mathematics from Stanford University was at IBM, where he worked for two years as a systems engineer supporting QUIKTRAN.[1] He left IBM to attend graduate school at UCLA where he earned his M.S. degree in 1970 and his PhD degree in 1972.[4][16] During his graduate student years, he studied under Professor Gerald Estrin, worked in Professor Leonard Kleinrock's data packet networking group that connected the first two nodes of the ARPANet,[17] the predecessor[17] to the Internet, and "contributed to a host-to-host protocol" for the ARPANet.[18] While at UCLA, he also met Robert E. Kahn, who was working on the ARPANet hardware architecture.[18] After receiving his doctorate, Cerf became an assistant professor at Stanford University from 1972–1976, where he conducted research on packet network interconnection protocols and co-designed the DoD TCP/IP protocol suite with Kahn.[18] Cerf then moved to DARPA in 1976, where he stayed until 1982.

As vice president of MCI Digital Information Services from 1982 to 1986, Cerf led the engineering of MCI Mail, the first commercial email service to be connected to the Internet. Cerf rejoined MCI during 1994 and served as Senior Vice President of Technology Strategy. In this role, he helped to guide corporate strategy development from a technical perspective. Previously, he served as MCI's senior vice president of Architecture and Technology, leading a team of architects and engineers to design advanced networking frameworks, including Internet-based solutions for delivering a combination of data, information, voice and video services for business and consumer use.

In 1992 Cerf and Bob Kahn co-founded the Internet Society to provide leadership in education, policy, and standards related to the Internet.

During 1997, Cerf joined the Board of Trustees of Gallaudet University, a university for the education of the deaf and hard-of-hearing.[19] Cerf himself is hard of hearing.[20]

Cerf has worked for Google as a Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist since October 2005.[3] In this function he has become well known for his predictions on how technology will affect future society, encompassing such areas as artificial intelligence, environmentalism, the advent of IPv6 and the transformation of the television industry and its delivery model.[21]

Since 2010, Cerf has served as a Commissioner for the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a UN body which aims to make broadband internet technologies more widely available.

Cerf joined the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 1999, and served until November 2007.[22]

Cerf was a member of the Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov's IT Advisory Council (from March 2002 till January 2012). He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Eurasia Group, the political risk consultancy.[23]

Cerf is also working on the Interplanetary Internet, 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 tolerant of signal degradations including variable delay and disruption caused, for example, by celestial motion.[24]

On February 7, 2006, Cerf testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's hearing on network neutrality. Speaking as Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, Cerf noted that nearly half of all consumers lacked meaningful choice in broadband providers and expressed concerns that without network neutrality government regulation, broadband providers would be able to use their dominance to limit options for consumers and charge companies like Google for their use of bandwidth.[25]

Cerf currently serves on the board of advisors of Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government.[26] He also serves on the advisory council of CRDF Global (Civilian Research and Development Foundation) and was on the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) International Advisory Board.[27]

Cerf is on the board of trustees of ARIN, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) of IP addresses for United States, Canada, and part of the Caribbean.[28]

Cerf chairs the board of directors of StopBadware, a non-profit anti-malware organization that started as a project at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society.[29][30]

Cerf is on the board of advisors to The Liquid Information Company Ltd of the UK, which works to make the web more usefully interactive and which has produced the Mac OS X utility called ‘Liquid'.[31]

During 2008 Cerf chaired the Internationalized domain name (IDNAbis) working group of the IETF.[32]

In 2008 Cerf was a major contender to be designated the US's first Chief Technology Officer by President Barack Obama.[33]

Cerf is the co-chair of Campus Party Silicon Valley, the US edition of one of the largest technology festivals in the world, along with Al Gore and Tim Berners-Lee.[34]

Cerf was elected to a two year term as President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) beginning July 1, 2012.[35]

On January 16, 2013, US President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint Cerf to the National Science Board.[36]

Awards and honors

Cerf has received a number of honorary degrees, including doctorates, from the University of the Balearic Islands, ETHZ in Zurich, Switzerland, Capitol College, Gettysburg College, Yale University, George Mason University, Marymount University, University of Pisa, University of Rovira and Virgili (Tarragona, Spain), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Luleå University of Technology (Sweden), University of Twente (Netherlands), Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Brooklyn Polytechnic, UPCT (University of Cartagena, Spain), Royal Roads University (Canada) Polytechnic University of Madrid and Keio University (Japan).

Further awards include:

  • Edward A. Dickson Alumnus of the Year Award from UCLA[37]
  • Prince of Asturias award for science and technology
  • Fellow of the IEEE, 1988, "for contributions and leadership in the design, development, and application of internet protocols"
  • Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, 1994, for "vision and leadership in the design, implementation, evolution, and dissemination of the TCP/IP computer communication protocol suite"
  • Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Award, 1996
  • SIGCOMM Award for "contributions to the Internet [spanning] more than 25 years, from development of the fundamental TCP/IP protocols".[38]
  • Certificate of Merit from The Franklin Institute, in 1996.
  • In December 1997 he, along with his partner Robert E. Kahn, was presented with the National Medal of Technology by President Bill Clinton, "for creating and sustaining development of Internet Protocols and continuing to provide leadership in the emerging industry of internetworking."[39]
  • He received the Living Legend Medal from the Library of Congress in April 2000
  • In 2000, he was made a Fellow of the Computer History Museum "for his contributions to computer architecture, operating systems, and software engineering."[40]
  • Cerf was selected as a Fellow of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) in 2000
  • Cerf and Kahn were the winners of the Turing Award for 2004,[9] for their "pioneering work on internetworking, including .. the Internet's basic communications protocols .. and for inspired leadership in networking."[41]
  • In November 2005, Vinton Cerf and Kahn were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush for their contributions to the creation of the Internet.[10]
  • He and Robert Kahn were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in May 2006
  • Vinton Cerf was awarded the St. Cyril and Methodius in the Coat of Arms Order in July 2006[42]
  • Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn were each inducted as an Honorary Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) in May 2006
  • He and Robert Kahn were awarded the Japan Prize in January 2008.[43]
  • Cerf was inducted into the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and given the Freedom of the City of London in April 2008.
  • Dr. Cerf was awarded an honorary membership in the Yale Political Union after keynoting a lively debate on the subject "Resolved: Online Communities are Real Communities." The motion passed.[44]
  • In celebration of the five year-anniversary of YouTube he was selected as a guest curator by the site, and chose the six videos on YouTube he found most memorable.[45]
  • In May 2011, he was awarded an HPI Fellowship as “[...]a tribute to his work for a new medium which influenced the everyday life of our society like no other one.”[46]
  • In September 2011 he was made a distinguished fellow of British Computer Society, in recognition of his outstanding contribution and service to the advancement of computing.[47]
  • 2012 Internet Hall of Fame[48]
  • In 2013, Cerf was one of five Internet and Web pioneers awarded the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.[49]

Partial bibliography


  • Zero Text Length EOF Message (RFC 13, August 1969)
  • IMP-IMP and HOST-HOST Control Links (RFC 18, September 1969)
  • ASCII format for network interchange (RFC 20, October 1969)
  • Host-host control message formats (RFC 22, October 1969)
  • Data transfer protocols (RFC 163, May 1971)
  • PARRY encounters the DOCTOR (RFC 439, January 1973)
  • 'Twas the night before start-up (RFC 968, December 1985)
  • Report of the second Ad Hoc Network Management Review Group, RFC 1109, August 1989
  • Internet Activities Board, RFC 1120, September 1989
  • Thoughts on the National Research and Education Network, RFC 1167, July 1990
  • Networks, Scientific American Special Issue on Communications, Computers, and Networks, September, 1991
  • Guidelines for Internet Measurement Activities, October 1991
  • A VIEW FROM THE 21ST CENTURY, RFC 1607, April 1, 1994
  • An Agreement between the Internet Society and Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the Matter of ONC RPC and XDR Protocols, RFC 1790, April 1995
  • I REMEMBER IANA, RFC 2468, October 17, 1998
  • Memo from the Consortium for Slow Commotion Research (CSCR, RFC 1217, April 1, 1999
  • The Internet is for Everyone, RFC 3271, April 2002


  • Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn, A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication (IEEE Transactions on Communications, May 1974)
  • Vinton Cerf, Y. Dalal, C. Sunshine, Specification of Internet Transmission Control Program (RFC 675, December 1974)
  • Vinton Cerf, Jon Postel, Mail transition plan (RFC 771, September 1980)
  • Vinton Cerf, K.L. Mills Explaining the role of GOSIP, RFC 1169, August 1990
  • Clark, Chapin, Cerf, Braden, Hobby, Towards the Future Internet Architecture, RFC 1287, December 1991
  • Vinton Cerf et al., A Strategic Plan for Deploying an Internet X.500 Directory Service, RFC 1430, February 1993
  • Vinton Cerf & Bob Kahn, Al Gore and the Internet, 2000-09-28[50]
  • Vinton Cerf et al., Internet Radio Communication System July 9, 2002, U.S. Patent 6,418,138
  • Vinton Cerf et al., System for Distributed Task Execution June 3, 2003, U.S. Patent 6,574,628
  • Vinton Cerf et al., Delay-Tolerant Networking Architecture (Informational Status), RFC 4838, April 2007


External links

  • Internet Pioneers – Vint Cerf
  • ICANNWiki on Vint Cerf
  • A Protocol For Packet Network Intercommunication – The May 1974 IEEE Transactions on Communications paper Cerf co-wrote with Bob Kahn that describes TCP.
  • MCI, Inc., 1982-1986.
  • Oral history interview with Vinton G. Cerf, by Judy O'Neill, Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1990 (PDF). Cerf describes his involvement with the ARPA network, including his work for the Network Measurement Center at UCLA, and his relationships with Bolt Beranek and Newman, Robert Kahn, Lawrence Roberts, and the Network Working Group. Aso discusses development of the TCP/IP protocol, IPTO funding at Stanford University, his decision in 1976 to become a program manager for networking projects at IPTO, and the military use of IPTO networking projects.
  • Vint Cerf on "Freedom of the Internet", 45 mins., official web stream of presentation for Hungarian "TV University", March 2007
  • Vint Cerf lecture "Tracking the Internet into the 21st century", 2007
  • Interview about Google and the future of the internet on Entitled Opinions with Robert P. Harrison, November 2008. (Audio)
  • Vint Cerf video lecture "Mobile and the Interplanetary Internet (Bundle Protocol on Earth and beyond)", at Aarhus University, Denmark, 2009
  • Vint Cerf video lecture "The Internet in 2035", 2009
  • Vint Cerf audio interview on The History of the Internet: Part I – Past – 16 minutes. Precursors & origins of the Internet
  • Vint Cerf audio interview on The History of the Internet: Part II – Present – 18 minutes. Internet Neutrality, Cloud Computing, Open Source / Collaboration
  • Vint Cerf audio interview on The History of the Internet: Part III – Future – 12 minutes. NASA's Interplanetary Internet, Speech & Gestural Interfaces, Quantum Entanglement
  • Vinton Cerf at PTC'09 Conference, January 2009, video: Part 3
  • Keynote Speaker at Internet Librarian 2009, October 2009
  • Father Knows Best, an interview with Vint Cerf on Innovation, July 2011. Part 2. (Video)
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tadahiro Sekimoto
IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal
with Bob Kahn
Succeeded by
Richard Blahut

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.