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Internet’s founding father comes to Lehigh

Robert Kahn, no stranger to the online world, visited Lehigh last month to discuss the “Past, Present and Future of the Internet."

Khan, highly regarded as one of the co-founders of the internet, collaborated four decades ago with computer scientist Vinton G. Cerf to invent the TCP/IP Internet protocol suites. During his lecture, Kahn described the evolution of the Internet from the 16-bit ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) to a global technological necessity.

Kahn earned a Ph.D. from Princeton, worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories and was appointed to MIT’s electrical engineering faculty. In 1972, he joined the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) and started considering the possibility of connecting networks. Although many people in his field believed it could never work, Khan was convinced of the need for an open-architecture network model, where any two networks could communicate regardless of their individual hardware and software configurations.

"When we started working on the Internet," Kahn explained, "no one thought it was a good idea."

Kahn informed students that it remains in their best interest to make the most of the available technology and to continue to push the limits of its boundaries.

"The future of technology lies in the hands of every individual sitting in this room," he said. "What was done in the past is simply the starting point."

Read the full story in the Lehigh University news section.

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Robert E. Kahn