SAN FRANCISCO — Paul Baran, who helped build the foundation for the modern Internet by devising a way to transmit information in chunks, has died. He was 84. He died Saturday at his home in Palo Alto, Calif., of complications from lung cancer, said his son, David.

SAN FRANCISCO — Paul Baran, who helped build the foundation for the modern Internet by devising a way to transmit information in chunks, has died. He was 84. He died Saturday at his home in Palo Alto, Calif., of complications from lung cancer, said his son, David.

Paul Baran became one of the pioneers behind "packet switching," which helps a communications network withstand an attack by bundling and dispatching data in small packages, while working on Cold War military research for the RAND Corp. in the 1960s. The Department of Defense used that concept in 1969 to create the Arpanet, which laid the foundation for the modern Internet.

President George W. Bush acknowledged Baran's contribution by presenting him the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2008, a year after he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Vinton Cerf, a vice president at Google Inc. who is considered one of the fathers of the Internet, said Monday that his longtime friend was a "technological iconoclast," an unusually prolific thinker and inventor who, over a career that spanned six decades, dreamed up "holy cow" ideas years before anyone else thought them possible.

Baran had more than two dozen patents and started seven companies, five of which went public. He is credited with advancing innovation in cable modems, computer printers, satellite transmissions, interactive television, remote reading of power meters, even airport metal detectors.

David Baran recently found one of his father's papers from 1966 predicting that people would shop and get news on online networks. He plans to donate that paper and others, many never published, to Stanford University.

Paul Baran never sought credit for himself, always distributing it to others, his friends and former colleagues said. "He believed innovation was a team process," longtime friend and Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo said.