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March 7, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 7:41am

E-mail inventor Ray Tomlinson dies aged 74

News: The American computer programmer changed the way the world communicates.

By CBR Staff Writer

Ray Tomlinson, the man widely credited as the inventor of email, has died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 74.

Tomlinson was an American computer programmer who implemented the first email system on the Arpanet system, the precursor to the Internet, in 1971.

Research and development firm Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) hired Tomlinson in 1967. At BBN, he helped develop the Tenex operating system, including implementations of the Arpanet and Telnet protocols.

In 1971, he developed Arpanet’s first application for network email by integrating the SNDMSG and CPYNET programmes, which enabled the sending of messages to users on other computers.

He pioneered the @ sign in order to to separate the names of the user and the user’s machine, something which has now become standard.

Mike Doble from Raytheon, who acquired BBN in 2009, said: "A true technology pioneer, Ray was the man who brought us email in the early days of networked computers."

A Tweet from Gmail’s official Twitter account read: "Thank you, Ray Tomlinson, for inventing email and putting the @ sign on the map."

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In 2012, the Internet Society inducted Tomlinson into the Internet Hall of Fame.

The Internet Hall Of Fame praised the impact of Tomlinson’s work in a biography. "Tomlinson’s email programme brought about a complete revolution, fundamentally changing the way people communicate, including the way businesses, from huge corporations to tiny mom-and-pop shops, operate and the way millions of people shop, bank, and keep in touch with friends and family, whether they are across town or across oceans.

"Today, tens of millions of email-enabled devices are in use every day. Email remains the most popular application, with over a billion and a half users spanning the globe and communicating across the traditional barriers of time and space."

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