Computers and the Internet Deaths (Obituaries) Kirstein, Peter (1933-2020) Uncategorized

Peter Kirstein, Father of the European Internet, Is Dead at 86

Peter Kirstein, a British computer scientist who was widely recognized as the father of the European internet, died on Wednesday at his home in London. He was 86.

His daughter, Sara Lynn Black, said the cause was a brain tumor.

Professor Kirstein fashioned his pivotal role in computer networking the old-fashioned way: through human connections. In 1982, his collegial ties to American scientists working in the nascent field of computer networks led him to adopt their standards in his own London research lab.

Those standards were called Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, which enable different computer networks to share information. Professor Kirstein embraced TCP/IP despite competing protocols being put forward at the time by international standards groups.

“Peter was the internet’s great champion in Europe,” said Vinton G. Cerf, an American internet pioneer who was a developer of TCP/IP and a colleague and friend of Professor Kirstein’s. “With skill and finesse, he resisted enormous pressure to adopt alternatives.”

Professor Kirstein was so avid a fan of computer networking that he gave Queen Elizabeth II her own email address, HME2. In 1976, while christening a telecommunications research center in Malvern, England, the queen became one of the first heads of state to send an email.

In 2003, when the queen made Professor Kirstein a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, he reminded her of that day in Malvern, and “she smiled,” he recalled in an interview for this obituary in 2019.

“If she actually remembered sending that email, I can’t say,” he said.

Peter Thomas Kirschstein was born on June 20, 1933, in Berlin to Walter and Eleanor (Jacobsohn) Kirschstein. Both parents were dentists. His mother was born in London but raised in Germany. His father, who had been awarded the Iron Cross for his service in World War I, considered himself a patriotic German, Professor Kirstein said.

He referred to his parents as highly assimilated Jews. “My mother was completely agnostic,” he said. “That class of Jews in Germany had absolutely no contact, really, with Judaism.”

His father belonged to an exclusive yacht club in Berlin.

“As early as 1931, the secretary of the club said, ‘You can’t be very happy here with people like Joachim von Ribbentrop and Hermann Göring in the club,’” Professor Kirstein said. “It wasn’t until they said that to him that he suddenly realized they were regarding him as Jewish.”

Feeling increasingly unsafe in Germany, the family took advantage of Eleanor Kirschstein’s British citizenship and moved to London in 1937. Walter changed the family’s surname to Kirstein when he became a naturalized citizen in 1947.

Professor Kirstein studied mathematics at Cambridge University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1954. For graduate work, he went to Stanford University, where he received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1957.

In 1956, during a trans-Atlantic crossing, he met Gwen Oldham, a dental hygienist who was on her way home to England. “I noticed her as we were leaving,” he recalled. “She was busy flirting with lots of boys. I thought, ‘That’s the kind of person I’d stay away from.’” They married in 1958.

In addition to his daughter Ms. Black, Professor Kirstein is survived by his wife; another daughter, Claire Fiona Kirstein; a sister, Ellen Batzdorf; and six grandchildren.

In 1973, after stints with the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, in Geneva and in General Electric’s Zurich office, Professor Kirstein joined the faculty at the University College London. Computer networking became his principal research field.

When he built the university’s email gateway to the United States in 1973, his lab became one of the first international connections on the Arpanet, the precursor to the internet. For the next decade he oversaw Britain’s presence on the Arpanet.

Professor Kirstein formed a close working relationship with Dr. Cerf and another American, Robert Kahn — the co-inventors of TCP/IP — and exerted considerable influence in the field through his ties to the British Ministry of Defence and the British Engineering and Physical Science Research Council.

With additional support from the Pentagon’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, he became a crucial facilitator in the spread of TCP/IP in Europe, pushing academic and research communities there to use them. He adopted TCP/IP at University College London in 1982.

The protocols remain the technical underpinning of today’s internet.

“It’s possible that even without Peter, TCP/IP would eventually have made its way into Europe,” Dr. Cerf said. “But Peter was the bellwether.”

Apple Inc Commodore International Ltd Computer Chips Computers and the Internet Deaths (Obituaries) MOS Technology Peddle, Chuck (1937-2019) Uncategorized

Chuck Peddle Dies at 82; His $25 Chip Helped Start the PC Age

Chuck Peddle, the engineer and entrepreneur who helped launch the age of the personal computer after designing a microprocessor that sold for a mere $25, died on Dec. 15 at his home in Santa Cruz, Calif. He was 82.

His partner, Kathleen Shaeffer, said the cause was pancreatic cancer.

In 1974, Mr. Peddle and several other engineers were designing a new silicon chip at the Motorola Corporation in Phoenix when the company sent him a letter demanding that he shut the project down.

Mr. Peddle envisioned an ultra-low-cost chip that could bring digital technology to a new breed of consumer devices, from cash registers to personal computers. But his bosses saw it as unwanted in-house competition for the $300 processor Motorola had unveiled that year.

So Mr. Peddle moved the project to MOS Technology, a rival chip maker near Valley Forge, Pa., taking seven other Motorola engineers with him. There they built a processor called the 6502. Priced at $25 — the cost of a dinner for four, and the equivalent of about $130 today — this chip soon powered the first big wave of personal computers in both the United States and Britain, including the Apple II and the Commodore PET.

“The market needed a cheap one,” Mr. Peddle said in a 2014 interview with the Computer History Museum.

In later years Intel, the Northern California chip giant, would come to dominate the personal computer business. But the market was seeded in Valley Forge, not Silicon Valley.

“Chuck Peddle is one of the great unsung heroes of the personal computer age,” said Doug Fairbairn, a director at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. “Virtually all of the early, successful, mass-market personal computers were built around the 6502, not chips from Intel or anyone else.”

Charles Ingerham Peddle was born on Nov. 25, 1937, in Bangor, Maine, the oldest son of Thomas and Maxine (Denno) Peddle. His father was a salesman, his mother a commercial illustrator. In high school Chuck dreamed of being a radio announcer. (Television was still in its infancy.) But after traveling to Boston for an audition, he realized that his talents lay elsewhere. At the suggestion of a neighbor, he enrolled in the engineering school at the University of Maine.

After graduation, his aim was twofold: He wanted to live in California, and he wanted to build computers. So he took a job with General Electric, where he helped design early space vehicles, electronic cash registers and so-called time-share computers, massive mainframes that could be shared across companies, schools and other organizations.

Later, at Motorola, he worked on the 6800 chip, a $300 processor used in pinball machines and other arcade games, before turning his attention to a lower-cost processor. When the company sent him a letter killing the project, he responded with a letter of his own. He told Motorola that because it was abandoning the project, all the work he had done now belonged to him.

When he first took the idea to MOS Technology, one of the company’s founders, L.J. Sevin, turned him down, worried that Motorola would sue. So Mr. Peddle took the project to the other founder, John Paivinen, with whom he had worked at General Electric. Mr. Paivinen gave his approval.

After Mr. Paivinen had brought Mr. Peddle and the other Motorola engineers to Valley Forge and they built their low-cost chip, Motorola sued, just as Mr. Sevin had predicted. MOS fought the suit for years before paying a $200,000 fine.

By then, its $25 chip was feeding the rise of the personal computer. At MOS, Mr. Peddle built a personal computer around his new chip called the KIM-1 (the letters stood for Keyboard Input Monitor), and he started selling chips to a pair of young entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who were building a company called Apple.

In 1976, MOS was acquired by a calculator company, Commodore Business Machines, and Mr. Peddle became its chief engineer. Soon after, Mr. Jobs and Mr. Wozniak offered to sell Apple to Commodore, but Commodore declined. Mr. Peddle and his new company built their own personal computer around the 6502: the Commodore PET, which sold for $495.

“That’s when the personal computer market really took off,” Bill Seiler, who worked alongside Mr. Peddle on the first Commodore computer, said in a phone interview.

The 6502 also powered the Atari gaming console, which brought video games into the home, and the BBC Micro, which introduced personal computers to Britain.

In the early 1980s, Mr. Peddle founded another PC company, Sirius Systems Technology, where he designed a machine called the Victor. In later years he built NNA Corporation, which made a computer with removable hard drives, letting people carry data from place to place — a forerunner of the USB stick.

In addition to Ms. Shaeffer, Mr. Peddle is survived by three brothers, Douglass, Duncan and Shelton Peddle; a sister, Marthalie Furber-Peddle; three sons, Thomas and Robert Peddle and Vernon Prestia; three daughters, Debbie and Diane Peddle and Cheryl Prestia; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. His two marriages ended in divorce.

The PC age is now on the wane, but Mr. Peddle’s big idea is just getting started. “His big thing was distributed intelligence, putting microprocessors in everything,” Mr. Seiler said. “And nowadays, microprocessors are going into everything.”