Tag Archives: Computer Science

Jews of the Week: Dov Moran, Dan Harkabi, and the USB Key

Dov Moran

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) key was invented in Israel by a tech company called M-Systems. The company was founded in 1989 by Dov MoranĀ (b. 1955), a graduate of Haifa’s Technion Institute. Their first major project was creating an easy to use digital storage device that could hold a great deal of information in a small space. In 1995, M-Systems released DiskOnChip, the first ever flash drive. Building on this success, M-Systems patented the DiskOnKey in April 1999. The technology was quickly licensed by IBM and debuted in the US in late 2000, known as the USB Key. With 8 Mb of storage, it held over 5 times more data, wrote 10 times faster, and was far more durable (and smaller) than the standard floppy disk. The USB rapidly rose to popularity, and is now the most ubiquitous personal digital storage device.

Dan Harkabi

The project to develop the USB was led by Dan Harkabi, along with Amir Ban, Oron Ogdan, and company founder Dov Moran. In 2006, M-Systems was acquired by competitor SanDisk for $1.6 billion. Moran went on to start a company called Modu, which was acquired by Google in 2011. He now chairs two more Israeli tech companies, and recently launched a new start-up called Comigo, which is building systems to intertwine handheld devices with televisions. Meanwhile, Dan Harkabi – who served in the Israeli Air Force for over 20 years – is CEO of Picosmos, where he continues to work on flash drive technology.

Words of the Week

The tongue is secured behind the teeth and behind the lips, yet there is no end to the damage it causes. Imagine if it were outside!
Yalkut Shimoni

Jew of the Week: Bob Kahn

The Father of the Internet

Bob Kahn – Father of the Internet

Robert Elliot Kahn was born in New York in 1938. After receiving a Ph.D from Princeton, and working at AT&T Labs, he joined ARPA, the US military’s massive research branch. There he led the team that developed ARPANet, which came alive in 1972 when twenty computers went online. Realizing the significance of this tremendous achievement, he moved on to develop a protocol that would allow all computers in the world to be connected. He wrote out the blueprint for TCP – Transmission Control Protocol. A man named Vinton Cerf joined him to develop this system [Vint Cerf is possibly a descendant of Jews himself, as “Cerf” is a last name common to Jewish-Hungarians]. Together they created TCP/IP, which serves as the backbone of the internet to this day, allowing computers to communicate with one another and exchange packets of information. Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf have therefore been titled “the Fathers of the Internet”. In 2004, they received the Turing Award for “pioneering work on internetworking, including… the Internet’s basic communications protocols… and for inspired leadership in networking.” The two have also been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest award in the US). Interesting: Bob Kahn initiated what may be the largest single research project in history, the Strategic Computing Program, which cost over a billion dollars – in the 1970s!


Words of the Week

And at that time there will be no hunger or war, no jealousy or rivalry, for the good will be plentiful, and all delicacies available as dust. The entire occupation of the world will be only to know God… the people of Israel will be of great wisdom. They will perceive the esoteric truths and comprehend their Creator’s wisdom to the full capacity of man, as it is written (Isaiah 11:9): “For the Earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God, as the water fills the seas.”

– Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 12:5)