Robert Kahn

Why Trust Techopedia

What Does Robert Kahn Mean?

Robert Elliot Kahn is a famous American computer scientist, engineer and Internet pioneer. Together with Vinton G. Cerf, he developed Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), the standard communication protocols and the foundation upon which the modern Internet was built.


Kahn is considered one of the fundamental architects of the Internet.

Techopedia Explains Robert Kahn

In 1964, Kahn acquired a Ph.D. from Princeton University. In 1972, he started working for Lawrence Roberts in the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) within ARPA. The work experience gave him the confidence to think about the need for an open-architecture network model, in which every network could communicate with other independent systems with individual software and hardware configuration. Kahn set four objectives to design the architecture that would later become the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP):

  • Network Connectivity: Any type of network could easily connect with another network by using a gateway.
  • Distribution: This would happen without any central network administration.
  • Error Recovery: The lost packets could be retransmitted.
  • Black Box Design: There would be no internal changes for a network in order for it to connect to other networks.

In 1973, Vint Cerf joined Kahn on the project and they were able to complete the early version of TCP. Afterwards, this protocol was split up into two individual layers, namely TCP and IP. Usually, these two are referred to as TCP/IP.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.