Studying at Livingston High School in New Jersey, Ayyadurai began his work on the email system for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
In 1978, he developed a full-scale emulation of the interoffice mail system which he called "E-mail" and copyrighted in 1982.
At that time, copyright was the equivalent of a patent as there was no other way to protect software inventions, Huffington Post reported.
Based on his work, Ayyadurai won a Westinghouse Science Talent Search Award for high school seniors in 1981.
The official US copyright notice for "E-mail" is now with the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History (SINMAH).
However, the claims Ayyadurai made for the invention led to controversy over his place in the history of computer technology, with some other people claiming to have invented e-mail.