Raymond Tomlinson was an American computer programmer who was implemented the first email program on the ARPANET system in the early 1970s and was internationally known for inventing the email. Tomlinson who innovated the usage of the “@” sign to separate the user name from the name of their machine, an idea which was later adapted for forming email addresses. Born and raised in New York, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He then proceeded to further his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for his master’s degree. He then took up a job with Bolt Beranek and Newman (now Raytheon BBN Technologies) where he played a major role in the development of the TENEX operating system including ARPANET Network Control Program and TELNET implementations.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), an early packet switching network was a part of the TENEX operating system which also included TELNET implementations. Tomlinson, a pioneering computer genius, wrote a file transfer program called CPYNET to transfer files through the ARPANET.
During this period, a lot of developments were taking place in computer technology and networking. His employers asked him to work on SNDMSG which was an early electronic mail program which was used to send messages to other users of a time-sharing computer. He was told to change the program so that it could run on TENEX.
Tomlinson extended the program by adding code which he took from CPYNET to SNDMSG to create a version that enabled sending messages to users on other computers accessible over the ARPANET. He innovated the use of the “@” sign to separate the user name from the name of their machine.
Tomlinson’s email program revolutionized the world of communication. His email software became widely popular and over the years email became one of the most used forms of communication for people all over the world.
In addition he also played a leading role in developing the required services for email, including setting a standard format for email messages, and designing a tool for creating and reading email. He participated in a meeting to enhance FTP to support email which was used until 1982 before being replaced by SMTP.
Awards & Achievements