Monday, December 31, 2018

RIP: Larry Roberts, Pioneer of Packet Switching, 1937-2018

Dr. Lawrence Roberts, who pioneered the use of packet switching in the ARPANET and the X.25 protocol, passed away on December 26 at his home in Redwood City, California, of a heart attack. He was 81.

Roberts received his bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and later worked at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. In 1967, he became program manager for the ARPANET. Roberts is credited with applying concepts of decentralized control, Interface Message Processors, and packet switching, developed by Wesley Clark, Donald Davies, Paul Baran, Leonard Kleinrock and others, in building the first wide area packet-switching network.

In later years, Roberts led a number of business ventures including Telenet (packet switching, sold to GTE), DHL Corporation (global delivery and logistics), NetExpress (Asynchronous Transfer Mode equipment), ATM Systems, Caspian Networks (switch routers), Anagran (IP flow management), and Netmax.


Computer History Museum:

The New York Times: