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E-mail Inventor Ray Tomlinson Dies at 74

  • March 7, 2016
  • By Developer.com Staff

Ray Tomlinson, the network engineer and computer programmer credited with the invention of e-mail, has died of a heart attack at the age of 74.

Tomlinson had the idea for sending messages from one computer to another in 1971, when he was working at Bolt, Beranek and Newman. It was the early days of ARPANET, one of the precursors to the Internet, and Tomlinson had already invented a file transfer protocol program called CPYNET. He sent the first e-mail messages between two computers in his office, and within two years, e-mail was 75 percent of all ARPANET traffic.

He also pioneered the use of the @ symbol for e-mail addresses, another innovation that lives on to this day.

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