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Robert Taylor, Innovator Who Shaped Modern Computing, Dies at 85

Mr. Taylor at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in California in an undated photo. Palo Alto Research Center

 

Like many inventions, the internet was the work of countless hands. But perhaps no one deserves more credit for that world-changing technological leap than Robert W. Taylor, who died on Thursday at 85 at his home in Woodside, Calif.

Indeed, few people were as instrumental in shaping the modern computer-connected world as he.

His seminal moment came in 1966. He had just taken a new position at the Pentagon — director of the Information Processing Techniques Office, part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as ARPA — and on his first day on the job it became immediately obvious to him what the office lacked and what it needed.

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