Plaque Marks the Work of Internet Pioneer and His Impact on How We All Communicate; NEW HONOUR FOR COMPUTER ACE

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 26, 2013 | Go to article overview

Plaque Marks the Work of Internet Pioneer and His Impact on How We All Communicate; NEW HONOUR FOR COMPUTER ACE


Byline: ELENA CRESCI elena.cresci@walesonline.co.uk

HIS work helped change the way we work and communicate forever - and yet there are few who know anything about him.

Welsh coalminer's son Donald Watts Davies was a computing pioneer whose work laid the foundations for what would become the internet.

Yesterday his momentous contribution to modern life was marked with the unveiling of a blue plaque in his hometown at Treorchy Library.

Ann Crimmings, mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taf, hailed Mr Davies' pioneering work.

She said: "We already take for granted much of what modern technology and communication offer us and yet only 20 years ago, the internet was something used by business and academics with use in the home not particularly common.

"It is thanks to the work of pioneers like Donald back in the 1960s and 70s that our lives have been transformed and will doubtless continue to be so as technology progresses in leaps and bounds."

Mr Davies' contribution to one of technology's greatest success stories came with his part in the invention of the packet switching computer, when he created a network of computers with the ability to communicate.

His work was built upon by scientists in America and eventually developed into the internet.

Born in Dumfries Street in Treorchy in 1924, he moved to his mother's hometown of Portsmouth after his father died when he was just a few months old. He went on to study at Imperial College London, gaining BSc degrees in both physics and mathematics.

He joined the National Physical Laboratory in 1947 as a member of the small team, where he worked with wartime code-breaker Alan Turing. …

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