Vinton G. Cerf Today's Visionary is Vinton G. Cerf, senior vice president of Internet Architecture and Technology at MCI WorldCom.

He is often called the "father of the Internet" because he co-designed [with Bob Kahn] the architecture and basic communications protocols for TCP/IP during his tenure at DARPA (1976-1982).

Vint Cerf earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Stanford University and Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from UCLA. He has received numerous awards including the U.S. National Medal of Technology in 1997, the Marconi Fellowship and the Alexander Graham Bell Award.

» More Visions
 More from Vint Cerf:

» Cerf’s Up [Vint Cerf at MCI Worldcom]

» Vint Cerf bio at the Industry Standard.

» Collected Poetry of Vint Cerf [netmom]

» Dan Tebbutt interviews Vint Cerf [, Jan. 1, 1997]

» Gene Roddenberry's "Earth: Final Conflict"
[official website].

By Vinton G. Cerf, MCI Worldcom More Visions »

The Internet Toaster
 Soon, millions of devices
connected to the Internet won't
look anything like your daddy's PC

I see toasters

       I see hundreds of millions if not billions of internet–enabled devices populating the Internet as the next decade approaches its last few years. Many of these will be largely confined to local nets (e.g. at home), in offices, and even personal networks of devices we wear, just as we wear watches, cell phones, pagers and PDAs today.

       I see far more flexible ways of interacting with network services, including spoken input, possibly gestures – though that seems a stretch – and stylus/handwriting. I see devices that are smart enough to tell the network servers what their limitations are, so servers don't do silly things like sending huge attachment files to a pager. I see devices that know where they are and can take maximum advantage of geographically–indexed databases on the Internet to serve their users better.

       I see new display technologies including “reading glasses” that actually project images directly onto retinas for privacy. There remains an interesting problem how to make the heads-up display readable given the confusion of other inputs from the real world – maybe we have to carry blank sheets of paper around to act as the backdrop for such displays.

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» Net Pioneer Discusses Interplanetary Internet [spaceviews, July 1998].

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       I see radio and infra–red links to reduce the number of wires we need and keep us connected most of the time. I see IP multicasting over satellite, radio and television channels. I see most business transactions taking place over the Internet and many added–value services offered through the network thanks to XML or similar standard representations. I see telephony, radio and television carried over the Internet – with hundreds of thousands if not millions of choices of radio and video “channels”.

       I see many challenges ahead to accommodate the scaling that the Internet will experience (well beyond the penetration of telephony and television) and the security challenges such scale and dependency represent. I am optimistic that we will overcome these challenges and make the Internet one of the most useful telecommunications platforms of the 21st Century.

 Copyright © 1999, 2000

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