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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.

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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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