OHI project interviewed Bob Kahn on 18th September 2019 in Washington, DC.
At a meeting in Boston in July, we have already made an appointment with Bob Kahn to conduct the third interview on 18th September. On this day, our interview has been scheduled in the afternoon and we almost did not have time to have lunch due to the tight schedule. Thanks to the help of a friend, we could eat a hamburger before the interview started.
Our total interview duration with Bob Kahn has accumulated more than 10 hours, but we still feel that he has a lot of stories worth exploring. This time, we would like to listen to the views and comments of Bob Kahn on other Internet pioneers and their mutual memories. By doing so, we believed that we can depict a multi-dimensional image of our interviewing figures and further enrich the content of our interviews.
He began by talking about stories with Larry Roberts and Danny Cohen who just passed away, and more stories about Frank Heart who used to be his colleagues in BBN. Then, he talked about Frank Kuo who co-invented the wireless networking ALOHAnet with Norman Abramson at the University of Hawaii, which was undoubtedly one of the important factors that contributed to Bob Kahn’s research on the TCP, the revolutionary protocol for interconnection among different networks. In 1976, Frank Kuo was transferred to the United States Department of Defense to promote the deployment of the military network. At that time, Frank Kuo and Bob Kahn lived together for nearly half a year at Washington, DC; the two had a lot of stories. In particular, Frank Kuo made Chinese food every day for Bob Kahn which cultivated Kahn’s habit of eating Chinese food. Later, Frank Kuo’s wife moved from Hawaii to Washington, DC and so Frank Kuo moved away from Bob’s home. Consequently, Bob Kahn had to learn how to cook Chinese food by himself.
Moreover, Bob Kahn also told us some stories about Gorden Bell who was just interviewed by us in Silicon Valley, Bell was the one who promoted the NSF to work on the Internet and it was also at that time that Bob Kahn had an opportunity to work with Bell and get to know each other.
However, our interviews lasted only one and a half hours due to the time limit. Fortunately, Bob Kahn will go to China in a few days to attend the Wuzhen Conference and we may have more time to interview him in China. We believe that China will have more opportunities to cooperate with Bob Kahn, the father of the Internet, in the future.
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