Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, co-designers of the protocols used to transmit traffic across the Internet, this week join the likes of Guglielmo Marconi and Thomas Edison in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
A ceremony for the creators of ubiquitous inventions ranging from the rotary printing press to contraceptive pills is set to take place Friday and Saturday at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation's self-named museum in Akron, Ohio.
"Any holder of a U.S. patent is eligible to qualify" for the distinction, even if the holder is not a U.S. citizen, according to foundation spokeswoman Rini Paiva. Though clearly, honoree qualifications went a lot further than holding one mere patent.
Under the auspices of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Kahn and Cerf developed code to enable one system of computers to exchange information with another at a remote location. The team's protocols for transmitting packets of information were originally used by the federal government to relay data between military networks. Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, better known as TCP/IP, now defines how the Internet functions.
Last year,, the highest civilian honor in the United States, for their invention.
in September to and for Web applications like Google Earth.
Kahn, meanwhile, leads the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), a nonprofit organization that, among other things, supports the development of Internet protocols and research of high-speed networking.
Also being honored this week are Herman Affel and Lloyd Espenschied, inventors of coaxial cable. Cable companies such as Comcast use the copper wire for high-volume data transmissions such as TV and broadband Internet service.
Rounding out this year's tech sector inductees are Ali Javan for the Helium-neon laser, which is used in UPC checkout scanners; and Willard Boyle and George Smith for the charged-couple device (CCD), which is used in digital cameras.
A database of all inductee profiles can be found at Invent Now.