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Big Names for the Information Age Print
September 2006

(for Educators)

When did the Information Age start? Are we in the Information Age and if so by whose definition? What is it exactly if we are in it?  Human history has been recorded for some 5000 years and Gutenberg invented the printing press some 600 years ago.  How is the creation, recording and distribution of information at present different to our past?  As educators, we should have the answers on our lips and should have integrated the culture of the Information Age into our educational agenda.  How do we train our students in terms of ICT?  What we want them to achieve?  The editor would like to nominate 6 persons for modelling and reference. Unfortunately none is a New Zealander.  Shall we produce one shortly?

  • Bob Metcalfe created Ethernet which nowadays is the de facto physical layer standard for enabling computers to talk to each other in local area networks.  Bob created Ethernet whilst working for his PhD in MIT.
  • Vinton Cerf created the Internet Protocol (IP) which nowadays is the de facto network layer standard for addressing on the Internet serving some 4 billion people.  IPv6 will be used to address almost everything in the future including our fridge and eye glasses.  Vinton created the protocol in 1974 whilst working for ARPA Laboratory in US. 
  • Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web that is currently formed of over 700 million hosts around the world.  WWW is the basis for School Intranets, the eBay auction site, news group forums and online product catalogues etc.  Tim created WWW in 1984 whilst working for CERN (European Consortium for Nuclear Research).
  • Linus Torvalds created Linux and opened the source codes for any and every person on Earth to use freely.  He is a pioneer of open source and freedom of use, and created not just an alternative to Microsoft but a new culture for mankind.  Linus created Linux when studying at the University of Helsinki in 1992. 
  • Peter Drucker created management science and coined the term "knowledge workers".  He prescribed how knowledge workers should live and work to contribute to the society.  He, being the 1st knowledge worker, lectured and wrote almost until his death in December 2005.
  • Stephen Hawking has created theories about Black Holes and the Cosmo that we cannot see or verify. He has led the world to associate the biggest structure in the universe to the smallest one that we know of.  His thinking is leading to a new wave of ICT developments.  Stephen is currently the Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.