American computer scientist Robert W. Taylor, who is regarded as a pioneer in internet and modern personal computer, passed away on April 13, 2017 in California, US. He was 85 and was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
- Robert Taylor is survived by three sons and three grandchildren.
Robert W. Taylor’s Contribution in Development of Modern Computer Technology:
In 1961, Robert Taylor was a project manager for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). At this time he directed funding to Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute, who is credited with the development of the modern computer mouse.
- In 1966, when Taylor worked for the Pentagon, he oversaw the creation of ARPANET – (single computer communications network), which connected researchers across the US and later evolved into the internet.
- Thereafter, he went on to work at the Xerox Corp.’s PARC (Palo Alto Research Center). At PARC, he led a team that helped create a pioneering personal computer named Alto, which provided an individual workstation to each researcher and substituted the need for sharing time on a room-sized mainframe.
- Key feature of Alto was a graphical user interface, which allowed the user to command the computer through various icons, menus and windows rather than inserting commands in complex computer language. Apple computers and Microsoft’s Windows are inspired by this technology.
- Ethernet and a text processing program that eventually became Microsoft Word were also developed by inputs from Taylor’s engineering team.
- AltaVista, which is regarded as one of the first internet search engines was a creation of Systems Research Center in Palo Alto run by Taylor in 1990s for Digital Equipment Corporation.
- Robert W. Taylor retired from active work life in year 1996.
Awards won by Robert W. Taylor:
- 1999: Awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation
- 2004: Taylor and his colleagues at PARC were awarded the Draper Prize from the National Academy of Engineering for development of “the first practical networked personal computers.”