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Stephen D. Crocker

Last Edit: 10/01/17

Stephen D. Crocker is an American computer scientist who is acknowledged as one of the pioneers of the Internet. Crocker, as a graduate student University of California, worked as part of a team which developed the first protocols of the ARPANET computer network. ARPANET was a fore-runner to the Internet, and the protocol Crocker helped create (Network Control Program) evolved into TCP/IP; which is the protocol suite that underpins the Internet.

One of Crocker's most notable contributions to the Internet, is as the inventor of the Request for Comments document series. The Request for Comments (RFC) documents outline the technical architecture of the Internet, the protocols of the Internet, the history of the Internet, and much more. In fact, Request for Comments predate the Internet; although, present day (2014), they are exclusively authored for Internet related topics.

In RFC 1000, Crocker briefly discusses how the protocols of ARPANET were developed. After a meeting with Bolt, Beranek and Newman technologies - the company who built the hardware for ARPANET - a team included Crocker set forth to design the protocols for ARPANET. This process was largely 'accidental' in nature, and did not adhere to a 'grand plan'. The development process was littered with documents, and it was Crocker who acknowledged a document system was needed and it was he who wrote the first RFC document: RFC 1.

By the early 1970's, work on ARPANET had been completed. Crocker focused his attention on studying for a PhD at the University of California: which he completed in 1977. Since the late 1970's, Crocker has been a member of many important Internet organisations, such as: Internet Architecture Board, ICANN, and the Internet Society. Crocker also worked at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IEFT), which is the organisation that followed "on the heels of" Crocker's ARPA "Network Working Group". The IEFT is chiefly responsible for engineering the protocols of the Internet, just as the Network Working Group was chiefly responsible for engineering the protocols of ARPANET. IEFT also managed the Request for Comments (RFC) document series; which, of course, Crocker invented.