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Robert William Taylor, known as Bob Taylor, is famous for a variety of contributions to computing and other related technologies. He was director of Information Processing Techniques Office of ARPA, founder and later manager of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center Computer Science Laboratory and founder and manager of Digital Equipment Corporation's Systems Research Center. He was instrumental in the development of the ARPANET. He has received numerous awards for his contributions including the National Medal of Technology & Innovation and the Draper Prize.
Bob Taylor was born on February 10, 1932 in Dallas Texas. He studied to be a mathematician and an experimental psychologist devoted to the brain and nervous system in earliest part of his career. In 1961, after submitting a research proposal on flight-control simulation display, he was invited to join NASA. He became the director of the Information Processing Techniques Office of the ARPA in 1966. He initiated the ARPANET project in the same year, which laid the foundation of the modern internet. Along with J.C.R Licklider, Taylor co-wrote the paper "Computers as a communication device” where many modern uses of personal computers and social networking were predicted. The paper is considered influential and an intellectual breakthrough. Taylor later founded and managed the Computer Science Laboratory at Xerox Corporation's PARC in 1970. During his tenure, the lab developed technologies such as a network connecting Ethernet to the ARPANET.
Bob Taylor has received numerous awards during his distinguished career. In 1984 along with Charles Thacker and Butler Lampson he received the ACM Software Systems award for proving distributed PCs can provide a better alternative to time sharing PCs. For the same work, in 1994 all three were named ACM fellows. For visionary leadership in the development of modern computing technology, Taylor received the prestigious National Medal of Technology & Innovation in 1999. For the work on networked personal computers, he along with Alan Kay, Lampson and Thacker received the Draper Prize from the National Academy of Engineering in 2004. In 2013, He was named Museum Fellow by the Computer History Museum for his contributions towards development of online information & communication systems and computer networking. He founded Digital Equipment Corporation's Systems Research Center and managed it until his retirement in 1996. Some of the projects at Systems Research Center included the search engine Altavista, the first user interface editor and the first multi-threaded Unix system.