Robert E. Kahn
Robert E. Kahn Draper Prize
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  • Draper
Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
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Dr. Robert Kahn is chairman, chief executive officer, and president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), which he founded in 1986 after a 13-year term at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). CNRI was created as a nonprofit organization to provide leadership and funding for research and development of the National Information Infrastructure.

Dr. Kahn worked on the technical staff at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J., and became an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He took a leave of absence from MIT to join Bolt Beranek and Newman, where he was responsible for the system design of the ARPANET, the first packet switching network.

In 1972 he moved to DARPA and subsequently became director of DARPA's Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO). While there, he initiated the U.S. government's billion dollar Strategic Computing Program, the largest computer research and development program undertaken by the federal government. Dr. Kahn conceived the idea of open-architecture networking. He is co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocols and was responsible for originating DARPA's Internet program. Dr. Kahn also coined the term National Information Infrastructure (NII) in the mid-1980s, which later became associated with the Internet and its core applications.

In his recent work, Dr. Kahn has been developing the concept of a digital object infrastructure as a middleware component of the NII. The notion is providing a framework for interoperability of heterogeneous information systems and is being used in several applications, such as the Defense Virtual Library and the Publisher's International DOI Foundation for Identification of Digital Objects. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 1997 National Medal of Technology.

After receiving a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from City College of New York in 1960, Robert Kahn earned his master's and doctorate degrees from Princeton University in 1962 and 1964, respectively. Dr. Kahn was born in New York in 1938. He resides with his wife, Patrice, in McLean, Va.

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  • Draper
  • 2001
  • Development of the Internet.