Vinton Cerf was born in New Haven, Connecticut on the 23rd of June 1943, the son of Muriel, a housewife, and Vinton Thurston Cerf, an aerospace executive. He went to Van Nuys High School, Cerf’s first job after obtaining his B.S. degree in Mathematics from Stanford University was at IBM, where he worked for two years as a systems engineer supporting QUIKTRAN.
He left IBM to attend graduate school at UCLA where he earned his M.S. degree in 1970 and his PhD degree in 1972. He also holds honorary Doctorate degrees from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich; Lulea University of Technology, Sweden; University of the Balearic Islands, Palma; Capitol College, Maryland; Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania; George Mason University, Virginia; Rovira I Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York; the University of Twente, Enschede and the list goes on.
While at UCLA, he also met Robert E. (Bob) Kahn, who was working on the ARPANET hardware architecture. Cerf has worked for Google as a Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist since October 2005.
In this function he has become well known for his predictions on how technology will affect future society, encompassing such areas as artificial intelligence, environmentalism, the advent of IPv6 and the transformation of the television industry and its delivery model.
Widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet,” Cerf is the co-inventor of the architecture and basic protocols of the Internet. In December 1997, President Clinton presented the U.S. National Medal of Technology to Cerf and his colleague, Robert E. Kahn, for founding and developing the Internet.
He is a Fellow of the IEEE, the ACM, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Engineering Consortium, the Computer History Museum, the Annenberg Centre for Communications at USC, the Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering, the American Philosophical Society, the Hasso Platner Institute and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Kahn and Cerf were named the recipients of the ACM Alan M.
Turing award in 2004 for their work on the Internet protocols. The Turing award is sometimes called the “Nobel Prize of Computer Science.” In November 2005, President George Bush awarded Cerf and Kahn the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the United States to its citizens.
Cerf and his wife, Sigrid, were married in 1966 and have two sons, David and Bennett. In addition to his work on the Internet, Cerf served on many government panels related to cyber security and the national information infrastructure.
Vint has received numerous awards and commendations in connection with his work on the Internet, including the Marconi Fellowship, Charles Stark Draper award of the National Academy of Engineering, the Prince of Asturias award for science and technology, the Alexander Graham Bell Award presented by the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, the A.M. Turing Award from the Association for Computer Machinery, the Silver Medal of the International Telecommunications Union. In December, 1994, People magazine identified Cerf as one of that year’s “25 Most Intriguing People.”