Thursday, May 31, 2007

'Lick' laid the intellectual foundation of Internet

Pages could be filled by listing all the people who have made significant contributions to the origin and evolution of the modern Internet. But one person laid the intellectual foundation: J.C.R. Licklider, a remarkably modest man who insisted on being called ‘Lick’ rather than ‘Dr. Licklider’ and who was comfortable letting others take credit for his ideas. Licklider had both a wide-ranging curiosity and (according to him) a short attention span. Combined with a gift for problem solving, these characteristics made him a generalist with deep insights into a number of fields. The fact that he was a psychologist, not an engineer, explains why his early ideas about computing and networking centred more on their cultural role than on technology.

(p. 1, ‘OSPF and IS-IS’ by Jeff Doyle from Addison Wesley

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