Fireside Chat with the 2023 IEEE Medal of Honor Recipient, Vinton G. Cerf
Widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet,” Vinton (Vint) G. Cerf is the co-designer with Robert E. Kahn of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet. Cerf’s tireless commitment to the Internet’s evolution, improvement, oversight, and evangelism throughout its history has had an indelible impact on the world. It is largely due to his efforts that we even have the Internet—and it is largely due to the Internet that we have changed the way we live today. The Internet has enabled a large part of the world to receive instant access to news, brought us closer to friends and loved ones, and made it easier to purchase products online. It’s improved access to education, scientific discourse, made smartphones useful, and opened the door for social media, cloud computing, video conferencing, and streaming. Cerf saw early on the importance of decentralized control, with no one company or government completely in charge of the Internet.
In the 1980s, Cerf served as vice president of MCI Digital Information Services, where he led the engineering of MCI Mail, the first commercial e-mail service to be connected to the Internet. In the 1990s, Cerf, Kahn and others co-founded the Internet Society in aid of standards and policy development for the Internet. In the 2000s, he promoted the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit that helps to ensure a stable, secure, and interoperable global Internet and served as its chairman from 2000-2007. Cerf has worked continuously speaking around the world to evangelize the Internet’s growth and adoption in service of the public good.
Cerf has received many accolades for his work on the Internet, including the US National Medal of Technology, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, US National Medal of Technology, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the Japan Prize, the Charles Stark Draper award, the ACM Turing Award, and more.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Cerf is vice president and chief Internet evangelist, Google, Reston, Virginia, USA.