In keeping with its tradition of honouring famous and interesting personalities from around the world, Google on Monday dedicated a special ‘doodle‘ honouring noted computer scientist Michael Dertouzos. On the occasion of his 82nd birth anniversary, Google shared an artwork that represents snapshots of his visionary work in distributed systems, time-sharing computers and secure data transmission.
Dertouzos, who passed away in August 2001, is celebrated for predicting the impact the internet would have on the everyday lives of people. He predicted the popularity of personal computers and helped maximise their potential as director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS).
Insisting on the importance of bringing “technology into our lives, and not vice versa,” Dertouzos spurred LCS to head up the 1999 Oxygen project in partnership with MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. The goal of this massive project was to make computers “as natural a part of our environment as the air we breathe.”
Under Dertouzos’ guidance, the LCS grew into a thriving research centre employing hundreds of people collaborating on innovations like distributed systems, time-sharing computers, the ArpaNet, and RSA encryption, an algorithm used to ensure secure data transmission.
Dertouzos worked to make LCS the North American home of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an alliance of companies promoting the Web’s evolution and interconnectivity. Dertouzos recruited Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, to run it.
As early as 1980, Dertouzos was writing about “The Information Marketplace” a concept that he expanded on in his book 1997 book What Will Be: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives.
“If we strip the hype away, a simple, crisp and inevitable picture emerges — of an Information Marketplace where people and their computers will buy, sell and freely exchange information and information work.”