Dertouzos foresaw how the Internet would impact everyday lives.
He predicted the popularity of personal computers and helped to maximise their potential as director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Laboratory for Computer Science.
“We made a big mistake 300 years ago when we separated technology and humanism. It’s time to put the two back together,” he wrote in Scientific American in 1997.
Born in Athens in 1936, Dertouzos was the son of a concert pianist and an admiral in the Greek navy.
He attended the University of Arkansas on a Fulbright Scholarship, earned a PhD from MIT and joining the faculty in 1968.
“Under Dertouzos’ guidance, the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science grew into a thriving research centre employing hundreds of people collaborating on innovations like distributed systems, time-sharing computers, the ArpaNet, and RSA encryption, an algorithm used to ensure secure data transmission,” Google said.
Dertouzos worked to make Laboratory for Computer Science the home of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an alliance of companies promoting the Web’s evolution and interconnectivity.
Dertouzos recruited Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, to run it.
In his 1997 book “What Will Be: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives,” he observed: “If we strip the hype away, a simple, crisp and inevitable picture emerges — of an Information Marketplace where people and their computers will buy, sell and freely exchange information and information work”.
Dertouzos died on August 27, 2001.