IEEE Medal of Honor Awarded to Bob Kahn
Written by Sue Gee   
Friday, 02 February 2024

The IEEE Medal of Honor is awarded annually to a single recipient for exceptional contributions in the IEEE fields of interest. Robert E Kahn is the 2024 laureate for pioneering technical and leadership contributions in packet communication technologies and foundations of the Internet.

IEEE MoHConsidered the highest honor in the field of Electrical Engineering this medal was inaugurated in 1917. Last year it was awarded to Vint Cerf, whose name is often linked with that of Bob Kahn with both of them being considered "Father of the Internet".

Kahn's specific contribution was the system design of the ARPANET, the first packet-switched network and the precursor to the Internet. It was at this time that he met Cerf, who helped write ARPANET’s communication protocol,

Having moved to DARPA in 1972, Kahn conceived the idea of open-architecture networking and recruited Cerf to help him make his idea into reality. It took the two of them six months to flesh out what they called the Transmission Control Protocol, TCP, which provides networks with end-to-end reliability, error recovery, and congestion control. The TCP introduced the concept of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. The IP manages the addressing and forwarding of data to and from its proper destinations. Together TCP and IP make up the Internet’s core architecture and enable computers to connect and exchange information.

Bob Kahn

According to one of the endorsers of the award.

“Bob Kahn’s contributions to the lifestyle, commerce, and culture of modern society are extensive and unequaled. It was his leadership and dedicated efforts in the application of the packet network concept that led to the development of the Internet, which has become indispensable to our society.” 

Kahn and Cerf went on to found the non-profit Internet Society in 1999 to provide leadership in education, policy and standards related to the Internet, Jointly they have received several awards for their work  including the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 1997;  the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery, considered the Nobel Prize of computing in 2004; the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the Japan Prize in 2008 and the Franklin Medal in 2018. In the UK they were among the of five Internet and Web pioneers awarded the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering in 2013. 

More Information

IEEE Medal of Honor

Related Articles 

Internet Pioneers Awarded Franklin Medal

Queen Elizabeth Prize For Engineering Recognizes Internet and Web

Vint Cerf Awarded IEEE Medal of Honor

The Early History of the Internet

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Last Updated ( Friday, 02 February 2024 )