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Robert "Bob" Braden

Last Edit: 06/02/19

Robert "Bob" Braden was an American computer scientist who made a large contribution to the early development of the Internet, and is widely acknowledged as being a "Pioneer of the Internet". On his passing, on the 15th of April 2018, the chair of the IEFT, Alissa Cooper, and the Internet Society, both released statements praising Braden's long career and his "profoundly positive impact on the development of the Internet". In 2006, Braden was the recipient of the Internet Society’s Jonathan B. Postel Service Award -- Braden, alongside Joyce Reynolds, had assumed the role of 'stewards' of the RFC (Request for Comments) document series from Jon Postel (often referred to as the father of the Internet) on Postel's death in 1998.

Braden's interest in computing developed at an early age: he built computers as a hobby during high school, hung around IBM's New York computer lab as a teenager and had a summer job at IBM in 1965. Braden would later study at Cornell University and Stanford University -- in the late 1950s and early 1960s -- and taught computer programming at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the late 1960s. In 1969, UCLA was the location for one of the first (of four) computer network nodes of the ARPANet computer network -- a forerunner to the Internet. Braden worked as a computer programmer connecting UCLA to ARPANet.

In the early 1980s, Braden spent time at University College London -- which helped standardise TCP/IP in the mid-1970s -- and eventually settled at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) for a 30 year tenure (1986-2016). The Information Sciences Institute (ISI) was the ideal location for Braden, and any computer scientist, who wished to contribute to the development of the Internet. ISI was the home for the Request for Comments (RFC) document series from the 1980s until 2009; with Crocker, Postel, Braden and Joyce all editing RFC documents there. It was also where Paul Mockapetris wrote the Domain Name System (DNS) architecture in 1983; with assistance from Jon Postel. Braden became a fellow emeritus at ISI and on his retirement, in 2016, Terry Benzel of ISI remarked, "Bob's vision has helped guide networking efforts at ISI and the Internet community at large".

Robert Braden at Information Sciences Institute (ISI)
(Pictured: Robert Braden)

In no particular order, here are some of Braden's notable contributions to the development of the Internet: