Vinton Gray “Vent” Cerf[1] (/ˈserf/; born June 23, 1943) is an American computer scientist, who is recognized as one of[5] “the fathers of the Internet”,[6] sharing this title with American computer scientist Bob Kahn.[7][8] His contributions have been acknowledged and lauded, repeatedly, with honorary degrees and awards that include the National Medal of Technology,[1] the Turing Award,[9] the Presidential Medal of Freedom,[10] and membership in the National Academy of Engineering.
In the early days, Cerf was a program manager for the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding various groups to develop TCP/IP technology. When the Internet began to transition to a commercial opportunity during the late 1980s,[citation needed] Cerf moved to MCI where he was instrumental in the development of the first commercial email system (MCI Mail) connected to the Internet.
Vinton Cerf was instrumental in the funding and formation of ICANN from the start. Cerf waited in the wings for a year before he stepped forward to join the ICANN Board. Eventually he became the Chairman of ICANN. Cerf was elected as the president of the Association for Computing Machinery in May 2012. [11]
Cerf also went to Van Nuys High School along with Jon Postel and Steve Crocker; he wrote the former’s obituary. Both were also instrumental in the creation of the Internet as we know it.


Cerf was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Muriel (née Gray), a homemaker, and Vinton Thurston Cerf, an aerospace executive.[12][13] Cerf’s first job after obtaining his B.S. degree in Mathematics from Stanford University was at IBM, where he worked for less than two years as a systems engineer supporting QUIKTRAN.[1] He left IBM to attend graduate school at UCLA where he earned his M.S. degree in 1970 and his PhD degree in 1972.[4][14] During his graduate student years, he studied under Professor Gerald String, worked in Professor Leonard Klein rock’s data packet networking group that connected the first two nodes of the Arpanet,[15] the predecessor[15] to the Internet, and “contributed to a host-to-host protocol” for the Arpanet.[16] While at UCLA, he also met Robert E. Kahn, who was working on the Arpanet hardware architecture.[16] After receiving his doctorate, Cerf became an assistant professor at Stanford University from 1972–1976, where he conducted research on packet network interconnection protocols and co-designed the DoD TCP/IP protocol suite with Kahn.[16] Cerf then moved to DARPA in 1976, where he stayed until 1982.
Cerf playing Spaceward! On the Computer History Museum’s PDP-1, ICANN meeting, 2007.
As vice president of MCI Digital Information Services from 1982–1986, Cerf led the engineering of MCI Mail, the first commercial email service to be connected to the Internet. Cerf rejoined MCI during 1994 and served as Senior Vice President of Technology Strategy. In this role, he helped to guide corporate strategy development from a technical perspective. Previously, he served as MCI’s senior vice president of Architecture and Technology, leading a team of architects and engineers to design advanced networking frameworks, including Internet-based solutions for delivering a combination of data, information, voice and video services for business and consumer use.
In 1992 Cerf and Bob Kahn co-founded the Internet Society to provide leadership in education, policy, and standards related to the Internet.
During 1997, Cerf joined the Board of Trustees of Gallaudet University, a university for the education of the deaf and hard-of-hearing.[17] Cerf himself is hard of hearing.[18]
Cerf has worked for Google as a Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist since September 2005.[3] In this function he has become well known for his predictions on how technology will affect future society, encompassing such areas as artificial intelligence, environmentalism, the advent of IPv6 and the transformation of the television industry and its delivery model.[19]
Since 2010, Cerf has served as a Commissioner for the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a UN body which aims to make broadband internet technologies more widely available.
Cerf joined the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 1999, and served until the end of 2007.[20]
Cerf was a member of the Bulgarian President George Baranov’s IT Advisory Council (from March 2002 till January 2012). He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Eurasia Group, the political risk consultancy.[21]
Cerf is also working on the Interplanetary Internet, together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It will be a new standard to communicate from planet to planet, using radio/laser communications that are tolerant of signal degradation.[22]
On February 7, 2006, Cerf testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Hearing on “Network Neutrality”. Speaking as Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, Cerf noted that nearly half of all consumers lacked meaningful choice in broadband providers and expressed concerns that without network neutrality government regulation, broadband providers would be able to use their dominance to limit options for consumers and charge companies like Google for their use of band width.[23]
Cerf currently serves on the board of advisors of Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government.[24] He also serves on the advisory council of CRDF Global.
Cerf is on the board of trustees of ARIN, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) of IP addresses for United States, Canada, and part of the Caribbean.[25]
Cerf chairs the board of directors of Stop adware, a non-profit anti-malware organization that Google has supported since its inception as a project at Harvard University’s Beckman Center for Internet & Society.[26][27]
Cerf is on the board of advisors of The Hyper words Company Ltd of the UK, which works to make the web more usefully interactive and which has produced the free Firefox Add-On called ‘Hyper words’.[28]
During 2008 Cerf chaired the Indabas working group of the IETF.[29]
Cerf was a major contender to be designated the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer by President Barack Osama.[30]
Cerf is the co-chair of Campus Party Silicon Valley, the US edition of one of the largest technology festivals in the world, along with Al Gore and Tim Berners-Lee.[31]
On May 24, 2012, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) announced that Cerf was elected to the 2 year term post of President beginning July 1, 2012.[32]
On January 16, 2013, President Barrack Osama announced his intent to appoint Cerf to the National Science Board. [33]


Cerf has received a number of honorary degrees, including doctorates, from the University of the Balearic Islands, ETHZ in Zurich, Switzerland, Capitol College, Gettysburg College, George Mason University, Marymount University, University of Pisa, University of Rivera and Virgil (Tarragona, Spain), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lulea University of Technology (Sweden), University of Twenty (Netherlands), Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Brooklyn Polytechnic, UPCT (University of Cartagena, Spain), Royal Roads University (Canada) Polytechnic University of Madrid and Keio University (Japan).
Further awards include:
Edward A. Dickson Alumnus of the Year Award from UCLA [34]
Prince of Asturias award for science and technology
Fellow of the IEEE, 1988, “for contributions and leadership in the design, development, and application of internet protocols”
Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, 1994, for “vision and leadership in the design, implementation, evolution, and dissemination of the TCP/IP computer communication protocol suite”
Yuri Rubin sky Memorial Award, 1996
SIGCOMM Award for “contributions to the Internet [spanning] more than 25 years, from development of the fundamental TCP/IP protocols”. [35]
Certificate of Merit from The Franklin Institute, in 1996.
In December 1997 he, along with his partner Robert E. Kahn, was presented with the National Medal of Technology by President Bill Clinton, “for creating and sustaining development of Internet Protocols and continuing to provide leadership in the emerging industry of internetworking.”[36]
He received the Living Legend Medal from the Library of Congress in April 2000
He was inducted as a Fellow of the Computer History Museum in November 2000
Cerf was selected as a Fellow of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) in 2000
Cerf and Kahn were the winners of the Turing Award for 2004,[9] for their “pioneering work on internetworking, including .. the Internet’s basic communications protocols .. and for inspired leadership in networking.”[37]
In November 2005, Vinton Cerf and Kahn were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush for their contributions to the creation of the Internet.[10]
He and Robert Kahn were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in May 2006
Vinton Cerf was awarded the St. Cyril and Methodius in the Coat of Arms Order in July 2006[38]
Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn were each inducted as an Honorary Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) in May 2006
He and Robert Kahn were awarded the Japan Prize in January 2008.[39]
Cerf was inducted into the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and given the Freedom of the City of London in April 2008.
Dr. Cerf was awarded an honorary membership in the Yale Political Union after keynoting a lively debate on the subject “Resolved: Online Communities are Real Communities.” The motion passed.[40]
In celebration of the five year-anniversary of YouTube he was selected as a guest curator by the site, and chose the six videos on YouTube he found most memorable.[41]
In May 2011, he was awarded an HPI Fellowship as “[…]a tribute to his work for a new medium which influenced the everyday life of our society like no other one.”[42]
In September 2011 he was made a distinguished fellow of British Computer Society, in recognition of his outstanding contribution and service to the advancement of computing.[43]