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Baran, Paul Baran, Paul (born 1926)

Paul Baran was born in Poland in 1926. He moved to the United States with his family in 1928. After gaining a degree in electric engineering from Drexel University he became a technician at the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation.

In 1959, during the Cold War, Baran joined the RAND Institute as a researcher. The institute was working on ways to communicate in the event of a nuclear attack. Baran suggested designing a robust communications network using 'redundancy' and 'digital' technology.

The concept of information being passed through a network of computers as packets developed by Baran, was influential in the development of APRANET, which was a predecessor to the internet. A team member of APRA (Advanced Research Projects Agency), Larry Roberts, was interested in Baran’s ideas for a robust network and adopted his network ad packets of information scheme. As a result Baran became a consultant on the APRANET project.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

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