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Fernando Corbato , Inventor Of Password Dies

The man who first invented the password to protect user accounts has died aged 93 of complications related to diabetes.

Computer pioneer Fernando Corbato oversaw a project which would allow different users to access a computer at the same time.

The technique, which he began during the sixties at Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), paved the way for the development of today’s devices.

Using computers during th

e 50s was tedious because the huge, monolithic machines could only handle one processing job at a time.

So Corbato developed time-sharing, which divided up the processing power of a computer so it could serve more than one person at once.

The Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) made it possible for multiple people to access a computer at one time and perform complicated mathematical programs.

Mr Corbato locked each account by putting a password on for each individual user which, like machines today, kept their files and programs hidden away from others.

Besides making computing more efficient, CTSS also inadvertently helped establish the very concept of digital privacy itself.

It introduced the idea of having people create individual accounts with personal passwords.

The man who first invented the password to protect user accounts has died aged 93 of complications related to diabetes. Computer pioneer Fernando Corbato oversaw a project which would allow different users to access a computer at the same time

His system directly inspired operating systems like Linux and laid the foundation for many aspects of modern computing.

HOW DID FERNANDO CARBATO AND HIS TEAM CREATE THE PASSWORD?

The Compatible Time-Sharing System was first demonstrated in 1961

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Using computers during the 50s was tedious because the huge, monolithic machines could only handle one processing job at a time.

Decades before the existence of concepts like cybersecurity and the cloud, Fernando Corbato led the development of one of the world’s first operating systems.

His CTSS allowed multiple people to use a computer at the same time, greatly increasing the speed at which programmers could work.

It directly inspired operating systems like Linux and laid the foundation for many aspects of modern computing.

Decades before the PC revolution, he and his MIT colleagues also opened up communication between users with early versions of email, instant messaging, and word processing.

‘It’s no overstatement to say that Corby’s work on time-sharing fundamentally transformed computers as we know them today,’ said CSAIL Director Daniela Rus.

‘From PCs to smartphones, the digital revolution can directly trace its roots back to the work that he led at MIT nearly 60 years ago.’

His project, which he developed during the sixtires at Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), pushed forward the development of today's devices. Using computers during the 50s was tedious because the huge machines could only handle one processing job at a time

He joined MIT in 1950 to study for a doctorate in physics, but realised that he was more interested in the machines physicists used to do their calculations than in the subject itself.

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 In 1990 Corbató was honoured for his work with the Association of Computing Machinery’s Turing Award, often described as ‘the Nobel Prize for computing.’

His long-time colleague Tom Van Vleck said: ‘Corby was one of the most important researchers for making computing available to many people for many purposes.

‘He saw that these concepts don’t just make things more efficient; they fundamentally change the way people use information.’

Professor Fadel Adib, from MIT also paid tribute, saying: ‘Our world would be very different without his research and that of his descendants. He inspires in his work and his legacy.’

Source: Dailymail

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