Irishman Dennis Jennings made a number of critical decisions in the 1980s that accelerated the internet’s development towards becoming the internet it is today, joining billions of devices and people in real time.

In 1983, Dennis Jennings who was working in the US at the time, made a fateful decision that led the world on the course to the internet as we know it.

Jennings was in charge of the supercomputer programme at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, when the decision was made to deploy a protocol known as TCP/IP in a network linking various university research departments across the country.

This was a pivotal decision that accelerated the development of the internet to what it is today, a vibrant, living internet of machines and people that is already being expanded to include objects and things.

Specifically, Jennings made three key choices about the network’s architecture, each of which fostered its growth and global reach:

1. It would be a general-purpose research network, not limited to connection of supercomputers;

2. It would act as the backbone for connection of regional networks at each supercomputing site

3. It would use the ARPANET’s TCP/IP protocols.

“Dennis’s contributions to the creation of the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) are a perfect example of the global collaboration and innovation that have driven the growth of the internet since its inception,” said Michael Beckerman, Internet Association President and CEO.

“As the voice of internet companies that create jobs and facilitate the spread of knowledge around the world, we are proud to honour Dennis for his work in helping to create the foundation on which today’s internet economy is built.”

Words by John Kennedy