- Dallas, TX, USA
- Death date
Robert William Taylor was born on Feb. 10, 1932, in Dallas, TX and was adopted in San Antonio by Raymond and Audrey Taylor.
Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and went University of Texas at Austin for a masters in experimental psychology and wrote his thesis was on how the ear and the brain localize sound.
In 1966, Taylor became the director of the Information Processing Techniques Office at the Pentagon, part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Taylor decided to use a single computer network to connect the three separate computer research projects that ARPA was working on, which led to the ARPANET.
During his tenure at the Pentagon, Taylor was ordered to Vietnam to fix information systems used to report the progress of the war, including body count numbers.
In 1969, Taylor left the Pentagon and taught at the University of Utah for a year. In 1970, he joined the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in Northern California, and contributed funding to the Alto computer. Taylor also helped fund Douglas Engelbart's work on the computer mouse.
In the 1990s, Taylor created the Digital Equipment Systems Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, which created AltaVista, one of the earliest Web search engines.
Taylor died from complications from Parkinson's disease on April 13, 2017.