Paul Baran, one of the geniuses working for RAND corporation, conceived of a distributed packet switching network in which information could broken up at the source, be transmitted across multiple paths and reassembled at the far end, preventing the message from being disrupted if the ‘network’ took a big hit (such as one or more nuclear blasts).  This concept of a distributed message system paved the way for the ARPANET, the grand-daddy of today’s Internet.

He died today from lung cancer at age 84.

You can read the New York Times Article here: