Donald Watt Davies
Born June 7, 1924 - May 28, 2000
Apparatus and Methods for Granting Access to Computers
Patent #: 4,799,258
Donald Davies’s crucial breakthrough of packet switching, which enables the
efficient exchange of information between computers, makes modern computer
communications both functional and robust.
After proving packet switching’s feasibility in the United Kingdom,
Davies worked with the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the U.S. to
create a larger, universal network. Davies’ concept of breaking up
packets of information was quickly implemented in ARPANET, the precursor
to the Internet.
Born in Treorchy, Wales, Davies studied at the Imperial College in London, earning his B.S. in physics and mathematics. Following graduation, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory in England pursuing ways to broaden the use of computers. In 1965, Davies designed and implemented the first operational packet switching network. Packet switching, a term coined by Davies, was based on the concept of sending information in small digital “packets” through a distributed system, with each packet able to take a different path from sender to receiver, rather than over a conventional dedicated circuit.