Lawrence G. Roberts
Lawrence G. Roberts Draper Prize
More Info
  • Draper
Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
Go To Award

Dr. Lawrence G. Roberts led the team that designed and developed ARPANET, the world's first major computer packet network. Dr. Roberts, as Advanced Research Projects Agency's (ARPA's) chief scientist, began to architect ARPANET in 1966 influenced by the theoretical packet switching work by Dr. Leonard Kleinrock. This research network evolved into the modern Internet.

Dr. Roberts' ARPANET translated Dr. Kleinrock's innovating packet-switching theory into a practical, working network for the first time. Conventional opinion then held that packet switching could never work. Dr. Roberts' team, in conjunction with contractor BBN, which assembled and installed hardware, proved them wrong.

After ARPA, Dr. Roberts founded the world's first packet data communications carrier, Telenet-the company that developed and drove adoption of the popular X.25 data protocol. Dr. Roberts was chief executive officer from 1973 to 1980. Telenet was sold to GTE in 1979 and subsequently became the data division of Sprint. From 1983 to 1993, Dr. Roberts was chairman and chief executive officer of NetExpress, an electronics company specializing in packetized fax and Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) equipment.

From 1993 to 1998, Dr. Roberts was president of ATM Systems, where he designed advanced ATM and Ethernet switches with QoS and Explicit Rate flow control. He proposed Explicit Rate to the ATM Forum in 1994 and spearheaded its development into ATM Forum recommendation TM 4.0 in 1996. He also led the development of a protocol for ATM over Ethernet called Cells in Frames.

Today, he serves Caspian Networks, an Internet infrastructure company, as CTO.

Lawrence Roberts has a bachelor of science, a master of science, and a doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Born in 1937 in Connecticut, Dr. Roberts resides in Silicon Valley, Calif.

Read More Read Less
  • Draper
  • 2001
  • Development of the Internet.