Ray Tomlinson

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Description:
Raymond Samuel Tomlinson (born 1941, Amsterdam, New York) is a programmer who implemented an email system in 1971 on the ARPANET. Email had been previously sent on other networks such as AUTODIN and PLATO. It was the first system able to send mail between users on different hosts connected to the ARPAnet. (Previously, mail could be sent only to others who used the same computer.) To achieve this, he used the @ sign to separate the user from their machine, which has been used in email addresses ever since.

The first email Tomlinson sent was a test e-mail. It was not preserved and Tomlinson describes it as insignificant, something like "QWERTYUIOP". This is commonly misquoted as "The first e-mail was QWERTYUIOP".

At first, his email messaging system wasn't thought to be a big deal. When Tomlinson showed it to his colleague Jerry Burchfiel, he said "Don't tell anyone! This isn't what we're supposed to be working on."

Career

Tomlinson was born in Amsterdam, New York, but his family soon moved to the small, unincorporated village of Vail Mills, New York. He attended Broadalbin Central School in nearby Broadalbin, New York....
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