Thursday, April 25

Daniel C. Lynch, Founder of Major Computer Exhibition, Dies at 82

Daniel C. Lynch, a computer network engineer whose exposures to networking equipment helped accelerate the commercialization of the Internet in the 1980s and 1990s, died Saturday at his home in St. Helena, California. He was 82 years old.

His death was confirmed by his daughter Julie Lynch-Sasson, who said he suffered from kidney failure.

In the mid-1980s, when the Internet was still the preserve of academia and government, Mr. Lynch was a computer facilities manager who played a key role in the early years of data networks. Although the Internet was very small and limited to non-commercial use, Mr. Lynch was convinced of its ultimate commercial potential.

Daniel C. Lynch in an undated photograph. He sold his company, Interop, to Ziff Davis in 1991 for an estimated $25 million.Credit…The Lynch family

His friends had recently started companies, including Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems. “And I’ll, wait a minute, I can do that too,” he said in a video recorded for his 2019 Internet Hall of Fame induction.

In 1986, Mr. Lynch decided to organize a workshop to train vendors and developers how to configure equipment to carry traffic over the Internet. This involved making equipment from different manufacturers work together and demonstrating the uses that the Internet could have for businesses. The first event, attended by 300 vendors, was run largely by volunteers, who ran cables around the room and programmed specialized computers called routers, which were just becoming commercially available, to communicate with each other. .

“His idea was that you couldn’t be there unless you were willing to interconnect with everyone,” said Vinton G. Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google. Mr. Lynch asked attendees to embrace TCP/IP, a language spoken by computers connected to the Internet that has quickly become the industry standard.

“He was basically helping to get the message out in every way possible that the Internet was not just a flash in the pan,” Vinton G. Cerf, a Google executive, said of Mr. Lynch.Credit…The Lynch family

Mr. Lynch began calling his event Interop in the late 1980s. Within a decade, it grew into one of the world’s largest computer shows, helping to create a global community of specialists capable of supporting a standard network allowing all computers in the world to share data. One computer industry analyst called it “the plumbing trade show for the information age.”

Interop also published ConneXions, a monthly technical journal focused on data networks. The current market for Internet-related equipment is estimated at $30 billion.

“He was basically helping to get the message out in every way possible that the Internet wasn’t just a flash in the pan or just a research experiment, that it was a real thing, worthy of attention and investment,” said Dr. Cerf. And he was right.

In 1991, Mr. Lynch sold Interop to Ziff Davis, a major computer magazine publisher, for an estimated $25 million.

Daniel Courtney Lynch was born on August 16, 1941 in Los Angeles. Her father, Thomas Allen Lynch, was a public relations executive, and her mother, Irene Elizabeth (Courtney) Lynch, was an educator.

Mr. Lynch received his undergraduate degree in mathematics and philosophy from Loyola University (now Loyola Marymount University) in 1963. That year, he married Bernice Fijak, a recent graduate of Mount Saint Mary’s College ( now Mount Saint Mary’s University) in Los Angeles. Two years later, he received his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

In 1965, he entered the Air Force and worked as a computer programmer at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico until 1969.

In 1973, Mr. Lynch was hired as an IT manager at the Stanford Research Institute. Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet, was in its early years of operation, and the institute was the second node – or connection point – in the fledgling network.

Mr. Lynch moved to Los Angeles in 1980 to work at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Information Sciences, another of Arpanet’s early nodes, as a computer facilities manager.

He left the institute in 1984 “because things were happening and I wanted to get involved in some kind of startup,” he said in the 2019 video. I funded the first workshop of networking equipment with a Mastercard, a Visa and a $50,000 loan.

After Interop exited, Mr. Lynch started a winery in Napa Valley, and in 1994 he co-founded CyberCash, one of the first Internet payment services for e-commerce. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

Mr. Lynch’s first marriage ended in divorce in 1976. In 1978, he married Georgia Sutherland; the marriage ended a year later. His third marriage, to Karen Dement in 1980, ended in divorce in 2003.

In addition to his daughter Julie, Mr. Lynch is survived by five other children — Christopher, Eric, Zachary, Katherine and Michael — and seven grandchildren.