Jim Ellis, co-creator of Usenet, the internet's first newsgroup system, died yesterday at the age of 45.
Ellis, along with Tom Truscott, created the Usenet system back in 1979 at Duke University. It was a concept that has evolved into a communication system enjoyed by millions of web users worldwide.
According to reports, Ellis died at his home in Beaver County early yesterday morning. He had been battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer for the last two years.
Although he worked as an internet security consultant for Sun, Ellis will be most remembered for the creation and development of the Usenet system, which allowed web users to post and reply to messages - effectively the predecessor of bulletin boards and chat rooms.
At Duke university in 1979, Ellis and Truscott created the Usenet system while looking for a way to play chess with each other over the immature internet, which itself started life as a university network.
Initially Usenet was used as a form of communication between Duke University and the University of North Carolina, but its popularity has seen it spiral out onto what became the World Wide Web.
Today, there are estimated to be between 40,000 and 50,000 newsgroups in existence.
Usenet was created as a non-profit venture and those involved in its development never made any money from it. In fact, Ellis's wife, Carolyn, said that the way Usenet has evolved was somewhat of a surprise.
"They launched this thing and had no idea where it was going," she said.
Ssupermassive black hole is so big it corresponds to four per cent of the galaxy's total mass
Imminent attack will target a single bank with cloned cards used to fraudulently withdraw millions over one weekend
Using photocatalysts to convert carbon dioxide into usable energy such as methane or ethane
Trained on curated data from Moorfields Eye Hospital, the neural network also shows clinicians how it reached its judgement