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Awards Granted to Internet Inventors

Awards Granted to Internet Inventors

Four technologists who each made separate contributions to development of the Internet share the highest U.S. award presented in engineering, according to a January 31 press release from the National Academy of Engineering. Inventors of the pacemaker -- the implantable device that regulates the heartbeat -- are also recognized. Source: Washington File (EUR511), U.S. Department of State. Washington D.C., February 2, 2001.

Vinton G. Cerf and Robert E. Kahn won the award for their co-invention of the two protocols that enable computers around the world to communicate with one another.

Leonard Kleinrock "created the basic principles of packet switching -- the technology that routes a message from computer to computer until it reaches its final destination," according to the press release.

Lawrence G. Roberts is recognized as the leader of a team that designed and developed the world's first major computer network to implement packet switching. (begin text)

The National Academy News, The National Academy of Engineering, January 31, 2001.

2001's Top Engineering Honors Go to Inventors of Internet and Pacemaker

Washington D.C. -- The engineering profession's highest honors for 2001, presented by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), recognize two technological achievements that have markedly improved people's lives throughout the world -- the Internet and the pacemaker.

Vinton Cerf, Robert Kahn, Leonard Kleinrock, and Lawrence Roberts will share the distinguished Charles Stark Draper Prize -- a $500,000 annual award -- for their individual efforts in developing the Internet.

In addition, Earl Bakken and Wilson Greatbatch will receive the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize, also $500,000, for their invention of the first human heart pacemaker. The prizes will be presented at a dinner on Feb. 20.

The Charles Stark Draper Prize

Initially developed as a tool to link research-center computers, the Internet has become a vital instrument of social change, affecting educational pursuits, personal communications, and international economies. Today, the Internet connects people in 65 countries and is a familiar and expedient resource for young and old alike.

"For more than 150 million users worldwide, the Internet has changed the way people communicate, conduct business, and access information," said Wm. A. Wulf, president, National Academy of Engineering. "It is an achievement that deservedly joins the ranks of previous Draper Prize honors, such as the semiconductor microchip, the jet engine, satellite technology, and fiber optics."

Vinton G. Cerf is senior vice president of Internet architecture and technology for WorldCom, a major communications and Internet provider with corporate headquarters in Clinton, Miss., and offices located in more than 65 countries. His team of architects and engineers design advanced Internet frameworks for delivering a combination of data, information, voice, and video services for business and consumer use. Cerf is the co-inventor of the two protocols that enable computers around the world to communicate with one another.

Robert E. Kahn is chair, chief executive officer, and president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, Reston, Va., a nonprofit organization that provides leadership and funding for research and development of the National Information Infrastructure (NII). The NII, a term that Kahn coined in the 1980s, includes the expanding range of facilities and equipment that transmit, store, process, and display voice, data, and images. He is the other co-inventor of the two protocols that enable computers to communicate with one another and was responsible for originating the U.S. government's Internet program.

Leonard Kleinrock is professor of computer science, University of California at Los Angeles, and chief executive officer, chair, and founder of Nomadix, an Internet start-up company in the Los Angeles area. Kleinrock created the basic principles of packet switching -- the technology that routes a message from computer to computer until it reaches its final destination -- while a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He directed the transmission of the first message ever to pass over the Internet.

Lawrence G. Roberts is the chief technology officer of Caspian Networks, an Internet infrastructure company with headquarters in San José, Calif. Roberts led the team that designed and developed the world's first major computer network to implement packet switching.

The Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize

The pacemaker is an implantable medical device that is most often used for relieving the symptoms of bradycardia. Bradycardia is a heart condition in which the heart beats fewer than 60 beats per minute, a rate that might not meet the body's demand. By stimulating the heart muscle with precisely timed discharges of electricity, a pacemaker causes the heart to beat in a manner similar to a naturally occurring heart rhythm.

"Each year, more than 400,000 pacemakers are implanted, extending and enhancing the quality of life of patients," said Robert M. Nerem, director, Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, and chair of the Russ Prize selection committee. "Pacemakers help 2.5 million people worldwide, with Americans topping the list. Sales of the device have exceeded $5 billion."

Earl Bakken co-founded Medtronic, one of the world's leading developers and manufacturers of therapeutic medical devices, including the pacemaker, with world headquarters in Minneapolis. Bakken served as Medtronic's chief executive officer, board chair, and later, senior board chair until his retirement as an officer in April 1989. Bakken remains active in the company's business.

Wilson Greatbatch began developing the implantable pacemaker while at Taber Instrument Corp., North Tonawonda, N.Y. His pacemaker was licensed to Medtronic, where it quickly received clinical acceptance in the medical world. Today, Greatbatch helps to advance research in the areas of genetics, nuclear power generation, and MRI-compatible pacemakers through his two most recent business ventures, Greatbatch Gen-Aid and Greatbatch Enterprises.

The Draper Prize was established in 1989 at the request of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc., Cambridge, Mass., to honor the memory of Draper and to increase public understanding of the contributions of engineering and technology. The prize is awarded annually.

The Russ Prize was established in 1999 to recognize outstanding achievement in an engineering field that is of critical importance and that contributes to the advancement of science and engineering. The achievement must improve a person's quality of life and have widespread application or use. Endowed by the Russes through Ohio University, the biennial prize is being presented for the first time this year.

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is an independent, nonprofit institution. Its members consist of the nation's premier engineers, who are elected by their peers for their seminal contributions to engineering. As such, the academy provides leadership and guidance to government on the application of engineering resources to social, economic, and security problems. The NAE, established in 1964, operates under the congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863.

For additional information about the Draper and Russ prizes, contact Daniel N. Whitt Jr., NAE awards administrator, at (202) 334-1237. Visit the NAE Web site at http://www.nae.edu

(end text)


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).