Artifact Details


Taylor, Bob (Robert W.) oral history

Catalog Number





Robert W. Taylor was interviewed in his home in Woodside, California on two successive afternoons, October 10 and 11, 2008. The interviewer was Paul R. McJones and the videographer was Kenneth A. Beckman; McJones and Beckman both worked for Taylor at the DEC Systems Research Center, and Beckman worked for him at Xerox PARC Computer Science Laboratory. Here are brief summaries of the contents of each of the six tapes:
1. Taylor's childhood, education, military service in the US Navy during the Korean War, and his first positions after graduating from college: teaching at a prep school in Florida, and systems engineering at The Martin Company in Orlando, Florida; managing research at NASA and at ARPA IPTO.
2. The ARPANET project, the founding of the graphics work at the University of Utah; his own brief stay at the University of Utah; the founding and early history of the Xerox PARC Computer Science Laboratory (CSL); Xerox's purchase of Scientific Data Systems (SDS), and CSL's MAXC, Alto, and EARS projects.
3. More on the Alto system and what it influenced (including TCP/IP); the Future Day held by PARC for Xerox executives; the Dorado project.
4. His departure from Xerox; the founding of the DEC Systems Research Center (SRC); the Firefly, Alpha Demonstration Unit, Autonet, AN2, and Petal projects; the founding of the DEC Paris Research Laboratory and its collaboration with SRC; the nearby DEC Western Research Laboratory (WRL) and its Titan project; a recap of the commercialization of Ethernet.
5. Wes Clark, his TX-2 work, his LINC work, and his suggestion of decentralizing control for the ARPANET via a small computer (IMP) at every host; Taylor's work in Vietnam at the end of his ARPA tenure; his approach to research management, including recruiting, interviewing, and performance appraisals.
6. More on research management: informal celebrations, and the importance of a college intern program; reminiscences about people who worked at Xerox PARC CSL or DEC SRC or both.


2008-10-10; 2008-10-11


Beckman, Ken, Cameraperson
McJones, Paul, Interviewer
Taylor, Robert (Bob) W., Interviewee


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Woodside, California


74 p.




Taylor, Robert (Bob) W.; The Martin Company; NASA; ARPA IPTO; ARPANET; University of Utah; Xerox PARC Computer Science Laboratory (CSL); Xerox PARC; Scientific Data Systems (SDS); MAXC; Alto (Computer); EARS; TCP/IP; DEC Firefly; Dorado Project; DEC Systems Research Center (SRC); Alpha Demonstration Unit; Autonet; AN2; Petal; DEC Paris Research Laboratory (PRL); DEC Western Research Laboratory (WRL); Titan; Ethernet (Local area network system); Clark, Wes; TX-2 (Computer); LINC

Collection Title

CHM Oral History Collection

Lot Number