Robert Kahn was born in New York, New York, in 1938. He holds a BEE from the City College of New York (1960), and MA and PhD degrees from Princeton (1962, 1964).
Together with Vint Cerf, Kahn is known as "the father of the Internet." Shortly after graduating, Kahn joined the research firm BBN, where he was responsible for system design of the ARPANET, the first wide-area packet-switched network. He was also a part of the BBN team that developed the Interface Message Processor (IMP), a small computer that served as the ARPANET packet switch and which standardized the network interface to all attached host computers.
In October 1972, he demonstrated multiple computers exchanging information across different networks. Soon thereafter, he became director of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)'s Information Processing Techniques Office, where he initiated the Internetting project to develop an open architecture for networking.
While devising methods of ensuring reliable communications between such networks, he and Vint Cerf developed the architecture for the TCP/IP protocol suite, the fundamental communications protocol of the Internet.
Kahn has received dozens of awards, including the US National Medal of Technology (1997) and the ACM Turing Award (2004).