American scientist Dr. Larry Roberts who helped design and build the forerunner of the internet has died aged 81. In the late 1960s, he ran the part of the US Advanced Research Projects Agency (Arpa) given the job of creating a computer network called Arpanet. He also recruited engineers to build and test the hardware and software required to get the system running.
Arpanet pioneered technologies underpinning the internet that are still used today.
Roberts is recognised as one of the four founding fathers of the internet along with Bob Kahn, Vint Cerf and Len Kleinrock.
The son of two chemists, Roberts reportedly chose electronics as a field of study because it was more forward-looking.
“I wanted something new, not old like chemistry,” he had told Katie Hafner in an interview with the New York Times.
Two key developments credited to Roberts include the layout of the original network and the way it shuffled data between its nodes. Roberts decided on a distributed layout for the elements of the network, rather than a centralised system, and decreed that data should be split into small chunks or packets as it travelled to its destination.