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Paul Andrew Flaherty December 31, 2005

Paul Andrew Flaherty (1964 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – March 16, 2006 in Belmont, California) was an American computer scientist. He was a renowned specialist for internet protocols and the inventor of the AltaVista search engine.


Flaherty received his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from Marquette University, and his Master's Degree and PhD from Stanford University.

He joined Digital Equipment Corporation in 1994 and, as the Associated Press wrote:

Flaherty came up with the idea of indexing Web pages that made the AltaVista search engine one of the most popular Internet search tools in the mid-1990s. Flaherty was working as a research engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation in Palo Alto when he teamed up with two other staff researchers in 1995 to develop AltaVista's technology. The Web site was made public in December 1995 and within weeks was processing several million searches a day. It was spun off from Digital Equipment as a private company in 1999. [1]

He held an amateur radio Extra class license with the call sign N9FZX. Was President, W6YX, Stanford Amateur Radio Club, 1986-1990.

  • Station Engineer, W6YX, Stanford Amateur Radio Club, 1990-1994.
  • Started the VHF+ mailing list in 1989.
  • Member of the the Marquette Chapter of Triangle Fraternity as an undergrad, where he served as chapter President. He made a habit of challenging his fraternity brothers to drinking contests that he would invariably lose; on one occasion testing the limits of human inebriation to the extent that he required gastric lavage.
  • While a grad student drove a 1979 Z28 Camaro with T-tops.

At age 42, Flaherty died of a heart attack in Belmont, California.



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