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

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After working on the earliest version of the internet, he saw its potential and founded a conference on computer networking equipment.

Daniel C. Lynch, a computer network engineer whose exhibitions on networking equipment helped accelerate the commercialization of the internet in the 1980s and ’90s, died on Saturday at his home in St. Helena, Calif. He was 82.

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

In the mid-1980s, when the internet was still the domain of academia and the government, Mr. Lynch was a computer facility manager who played a key role in the early years of data networking. Although the internet was very small and restricted to noncommercial 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.The Lynch Family

Friends of his had recently started companies including Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems. “And I’m going, Wait a minute, I can do this, too,” he said in a video recorded for his induction into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2019.

In 1986, Mr. Lynch decided to hold a workshop to train vendors and developers to configure equipment for routing traffic through the internet. The point was to make different manufacturers’ equipment work together and demonstrate the uses the internet could have for businesses. The first event, attended by 300 vendors, was run largely by volunteers, who snaked cable through the room and programmed specialized computers called routers, which were just becoming commercially available, to communicate with one another.

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