Paul Baran, the US engineer who helped create the Arpanet, the government-built precursor to the Internet, has died at the age of 84 in California, The New York Times reported Monday.
Citing the son of the scientist, the newspaper said Baran had succumbed to lung cancer at his home in Palo Alto, California.
In a series of technical papers published in the 1960s, Baran suggested building a communications network that would be less vulnerable to attack or disruption than conventional networks, the report said.
According to The Times, his invention made in the mid-1960s was so far ahead of its time that when he approached AT&T with the idea to build the network, the company refused.
"Paul wasn?t afraid to go in directions counter to what everyone else thought was the right or only thing to do," the paper quotes Vinton Cerf, a vice president at Google and longtime friend of Baran, as saying.
"AT&T repeatedly said his idea wouldn?t work, and wouldn?t participate in the Arpanet project," Cerf noted.
The Arpanet was built by the US Defense Department in 1969, The Times said. It was eventually replaced by the Internet.
© AFP 2013