Google Doodle on Monday honoured Greek computer scientist Michael Leonidas Dertouzos on his birth anniversary.
Dertouzos was the first person who foresaw the tremedous impact internet in the daily lives of people. “Dertouzos predicted the popularity of personal computers and helped to maximize their potential as director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laboratory for Computer Science,” writes Google.
Born in Athens, Greece on this day in 1936, Dertouzos was the son of a concert pianist and an admiral in the Greek navy. Upon graduation from Athens College, he attended the University of Arkansas on a Fulbright Scholarship and earned a Ph D from MIT, joining the faculty in 1968. He was the Director of MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) from 1974 to 2001.
During his tenure, MIT LCS did some groundbreaking work in ArpaNet, and RSA encryption, an algorithm used to ensure secure data transmission.
“Dertouzos worked to make LCS the North American home of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an alliance of companies promoting the Web's evolution and interconnectivity. Dertouzos recruited Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, to run it,” writes Google.
He later co-founded Computek Inc. in 1968 which created graphics and intelligent terminals with Marvin C. Lewis and Dr. Huber Graham.
Back in 1980s, Dertouzos was already was writing about 'The Information Marketplace' through digital technologies.
“If we strip the hype away,” he observed, “a simple, crisp and inevitable picture emerges -- of an Information Marketplace where people and their computers will buy, sell and freely exchange information and information work.”
“Insisting on the importance of bringing “technology into our lives, and not vice versa,” Dertouzos spurred LCS to head up the 1999 Oxygen project in partnership with MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab. The goal of this massive project was to make computers "as natural a part of our environment as the air we breathe.
"As reflected in the title of his final book, The Unfinished Revolution: Human-Centered Computers and What They Can Do For Us, Dertouzos’ belief in technology was always grounded in his desire to unleash the full potential of humanity,” writes Google.
Dertouzos died on August 27, 2001. He was 64.