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Vint Cerf

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Vint Cerf

Vinton Cerf
Vinton Cerf in Vilnius, September 2010
Born Vinton Gray Cerf
(1943-06-23) June 23, 1943
New Haven, Connecticut
Citizenship American
Fields Telecommunications
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 Multiprocessors, Semaphores, and a Graph Model of Computation (1972)
Doctoral advisor Gerald Estrin[4]
Known for TCP/IP
Internet Society
Notable awards IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal (1997)
National Medal of Technology (1997)
Marconi Prize (1998)
Prince of Asturias Award (2002)
Turing Award (2004)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005)
Japan Prize (2008)
Harold Pender Award (2010)
Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (2013)

Vinton Gray "Vint" Cerf[1] (; born June 23, 1943) is an American internet pioneer, who is recognized as one of[5] "the fathers of the Internet",[6] sharing this title with American engineer 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] the Marconi Prize and membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

In the early days, Cerf was a manager for the United States Department of 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. He 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 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 housewife, and Vinton Thurston Cerf, an aerospace executive.[14][15] 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'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. (Bob) 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.

Cerf playing Spacewar! on the Computer History Museum's PDP-1, ICANN meeting, 2007.

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] He has also served on the university's Board of Associates.[21]

Vint Cerf criticized as leader of MCI's internet business. MCI was providing the IP addresses used by, a vendor of spamware that uses a botnet in order to send spam, and refused to terminate the spamware vendor.[22][23] At the time, Spamhaus also listed MCI as the ISP with the most Spamhaus Block List listings.[24]

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.[25]

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.[26]

Cerf was a member of the Bulgarian President Eurasia Group, the political risk consultancy.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29]

Cerf currently serves on the board of advisors of [30] 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.[31]

Cerf is on the board of trustees of Berkman Center for Internet & Society.[33][34] 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'.[35]

During 2008 Cerf chaired the Internationalized domain name (IDNAbis) working group of the IETF.[36] In 2008 Cerf was a major contender to be designated the US's first Chief Technology Officer by President Barack Obama.[37] 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.[38] From 2009-2011, Cerf was an elected member of the Governing Board of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). SGIP is a public-private consortium established by NIST in 2009 and provides a forum for businesses and other stakeholder groups to participate in coordinating and accelerating development of standards for the evolving Smart Grid.[39] Cerf was elected to a two year term as President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) beginning July 1, 2012.[40] On January 16, 2013, US President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint Cerf to the National Science Board.[41]

Awards and honors

Cerf and Bob E. Kahn being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush
Cerf and Bulgarian President Parvanov being awarded the St. Cyril and Methodius in the Coat of Arms Order

Cerf has received a number of honorary degrees, including doctorates, from the 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), University of South Australia (Australia).

Further awards include:

Partial bibliography

Cerf speaking at the National Library of New Zealand.
Cerf at 2007 Los Angeles ICANN meeting.


  • 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[55]
  • 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


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i as of February 2001curriculum vitaeCerf's , attached to a transcript of his testimony that month before the United States House Energy Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, from ICANN's website
  2. ^ Gore Deserves Internet Credit, Some Say, a March 1999 Washington Post article
  3. ^ a b Cerf's up at Google, from the Google Press Center
  4. ^ a b Cerf, Vinton (1972). Multiprocessors, Semaphores, and a Graph Model of Computation (PhD thesis). University of California, Los Angeles. 
  5. ^ (see Interview with Vinton Cerf, from a January 2006 article in Government Computer News), Cerf is willing to call himself one of the internet fathers, citing Bob Kahn and Leonard Kleinrock in particular as being others with whom he should share that title.
  6. ^ Cerf, V. G. (2009). "The day the Internet age began". Nature 461 (7268): 1202–1203.  
  7. ^ "ACM Turing Award, list of recipients". Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  8. ^ "IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal". July 7, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Cerf wins Turing Award Feb 16, 2005
  10. ^ a b 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients from the White House website
  11. ^ ACM Elects Vint Cerf as President from the ACM website
  12. ^ "Advisory Board", Council on CyberSecurity website. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  13. ^ "Internet pioneer Vint Cerf looks to the future", Todd Bishop, Seattle P-I, 23 July 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  14. ^ Jerome, Richard (September 18, 2000). "Lending An Ear – Health, Real People Stories". People. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Vinton Gray Cerf Biography". Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  16. ^ "UCLA School of Engineering Alumnus Chosen for Prestigious Turing Award".  
  17. ^ a b "Internet predecessor turns 30". CNN. 1999-09-02. 
  19. ^ Dr. Vinton G. Cerf Appointed to Gallaudet University's Board of Trustees, from that university's website
  20. ^ "Vinton Cerf – Father of the Internet, Vinton Cerf". August 28, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Board of Associates". Gallaudet University. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  22. ^ Socks the Whitehouse Cat (February 19, 2005). "Re: ACM ethics complaint against Cerf - first draft".  
  23. ^ McWilliams, Brian (February 16, 2005). "Protest brewing against Internet pioneer". Spam Kings Blog. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  24. ^ Socks the Whitehouse Cat (February 25, 2005). "ACM ethics complaint against Cerf - first draft".  
  25. ^ The Daily Telegraph, August, 2007
  26. ^ "ICANN Board of Directors – Vinton G. Cerf". February 14, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Eurasia Group". Eurasia Group. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  28. ^ "The InterPlaNetary Internet Project IPN Special Interest Group". Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce" (PDF). Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  30. ^ SEA’s Board of Advisors.
  31. ^ "Govt red tape adds to security threats", Vivian Yeo, ZDNet, 12 October 2009
  32. ^ "ARIN Announces Newly Elected Board of Trustees". Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Board of Directors". StopBadware. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Harvard's Berkman Center and the Oxford Internet Institute Unveil Backed by Google, Lenovo, Sun; Consumer Reports WebWatch Takes Unpaid Special Advisor Role". StopBadware. January 23, 2006. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  35. ^ "The Liquid Information Company". Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  36. ^ "IDNAbis WG". Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  37. ^ "The 5 best jobs Obama has yet to fill – Craig Gordon and Ben Smith". Politico.Com. 4 December 2008. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  38. ^ Daniel Ben-Horin (November 21, 2011). "The Kids Are Alright: Campus Party, Silicon Valley Tech Festival Rocks NASA". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Smart Grid Interoperability Panel Launched; Governing Board Elected". Retrieved 19 November 2009. 
  40. ^ "ACM Elects Vint Cerf as President". ACM. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  41. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  42. ^ "Vinton Cerf M.S. ’70, PhD ’72 | UCLA Alumni". Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  43. ^ "SIGCOMM Awards". Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  44. ^ "Office of Science and Technology Policy | The White House". Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  45. ^ "Vinton Cerf". Computer History Museum. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  46. ^ "ACM: Fellows Award / Vinton G. Cerf". June 4, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  47. ^ "ISOC-Bulgaria: IT-delegation in Sofia". Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  48. ^ 2008 (24th) Japan Prize Laureate
  50. ^ FiveYear. "Vint Cerf's Top YouTube Videos". Youtube. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  51. ^ “Vinton G. Cerf, who developed together with Robert E. Kahn the TCP/IP protocol was awarded as a HPI Fellow on May 25th 2011. The HPI award is a tribute to his work for a new medium which influenced the everyday life of our society like no other one.” "HPI Fellows & Guests". Retrieved 2011-05-27. 
  52. ^ British Computer Society. "Vint Cerf named BCS Distinguished Fellow". Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  53. ^ 2012 Inductees, Internet Hall of Fame website. Last accessed April 24, 2012
  54. ^ "2013 Winners Announced" Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering
  55. ^ Thomas C Greene (2000-10-02). "Net builders Kahn, Cerf recognise Al Gore: Grateful for the inventor's genius".  

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • 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.
  • Archive of 'Cerf's Up' web pages while at 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 1, Part 2, Part 3
  • Keynote Speaker at Internet Librarian 2009, October 2009
  • Father Knows Best, an interview with Vint Cerf on Innovation, July 2011. Part 1, Part 2. (Video)
  • "Google’s Cerf Says 'Privacy May Be An Anomaly'. Historically, He’s Right.", Gregory Ferenstein, TechCrunch, November 21, 2013
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tadahiro Sekimoto
IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal
with Bob Kahn
Succeeded by
Richard Blahut
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