Taylor and Networking

In the history of computer networking, I feel Taylor is not given as much credits as he deserves for his contributions in making computer networking a workable idea. His predecessors dedicated their time and government funding to developing time-sharing, graphics, and interractive computing.

From his first day in office, he made it clear that he didn’t like having to log on to three computers with different procedures. He found this irksome. He then realised that duplication was not the only obstacle in computer reliability—the researchers across the country were demanding expensive computers at their centres. This is what pushed Taylor to champion computer networking to cut the cost through resource-sharing.

The evolution of internet was not born out of interlectual curiosity. It resulted from Taylor’s desire for efficiency and eficacy. I wanted to be significant knowing that he was not going to be there for a long time. He employed his negotiating funding with ease. As a good manager, he knew how to get the right people to work for him. He knew Roberts was the best for ARPA, and he made sure he got him. All in all, Taylor was more of a manager than a technician, and he delivered.

3 thoughts on “Taylor and Networking

  1. Hi Tito–

    Bob Taylor was one of the great technical managers in the history of computing– not only did he kick off the ARPAnet, but he went on to become one of the main management figures at Xerox PARC, where things like the personal computer, windowing systems, the graphical user interface, and the mouse were pioneered. In a very real sense, Taylor was the manager who oversaw much of the invention of what we now think of as computing.

    And you are right– much of this was not just curiosity, but the inventive solution to a real problem. We will talk more about times when this happens during the semester.

    Nice first post,

    Jim Waldo

  2. Thanks, Tito, for posting your blog. There are many fascinating characters involved in the growth of computer networking. As for credit, Taylor has received some recognition, as he is in the Internet Hall of Fame (http://internethalloffame.org/inductees/robert-taylor). On the other hand, he’s not as well known to the public as some of today’s big names in the Internet space. Like you, Wired Magazine wanted people to know him better: https://www.wired.com/2017/04/youve-never-heard-tech-legend-bob-taylor-invented-almost-everything/. Unfortunately, we lost this amazing man earlier this year (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/technology/robert-taylor-innovator-who-shaped-modern-computing-dies-at-85.html?mcubz=1&_r=0).

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