• 1950 April 26
    (b.) -
    2003 April 02


A government scientist, he was a Program Manager at the U. S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in the 1980s where he helped establish the Internet Activities Board (IAB), which led the effort to set technical standards for the Internet. He graduated in 1967 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1973. He was an Assistant Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and worked in the private sector until 1980, when he became Assistant Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency's information-processing techniques office. He had been hired at DARPA by Robert Kahn, the then Office Director who had learned of his work on radio-based systems while he was an engineer at Probe Systems in the late 1970s, where he became involved in the design and development of an IFF system; a radio-based system to determine whether a detected signal was from a friendly source or not. He assumed responsibility for several existing efforts, such as the packet radio program, and quickly managed to demonstrate his technical and managerial skills. DARPA had formed a small group of approximately a dozen technical experts called the Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB) in the late 1970s, to help with the evolution of the Internet. By 1983, the ICCB meetings had hundreds of onlookers sitting in who were intrigued with the emerging Internet. This had become unwieldy, if not unworkable going forward. Under his leadership, and working with the chair of the ICCB, MIT's Dave Clark, they transformed the ICCB into the Internet Activities Board (IAB), which led the Internet standards efforts in a hands-on fashion for almost ten years as the Internet matured. A number of Task Forces were created under the IAB including one called "Internet Engineering", which ultimately gained responsibility for managing the other task forces; these were later renamed "working groups" except for those that were clearly associated with research, which were assembled into "research groups" of the Internet Research Task Force. By agreement with the IAB in the early 1990s, the hands-on responsibility for the Internet standards was passed from the IAB to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) leadership. The IAB continued to play an important role in overseeing certain aspects of the work of the IETF and in developing independent views on critical architectural matters concerning the Internet. For many years, he had the ultimate responsibility for the development of this part of the Internet organizational structure, which he oversaw during the mid-1980s. Several years later, he became a member of the IAB where he served for many years. He subsequently signed up for a second tour at DARPA in the mid-1990s, where he became an Assistant Director in the Information Technology Office with a focus on information management, distributed computing and software systems that could best be described as "middleware". In 1985, he left DARPA to take the position of Deputy Director of the NASA Ames Research Center's Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS) at Moffett Field. From 1990 to 1992, he was Director of Research at Advanced Decision Systems, an information technology firm in Mountain View, CA; and from 1992 to 1996, he was a Senior Scientist with the Universities Space Research Association in Maryland, a national nonprofit linking academia with government. From 1996 to 1997, he was Vice President of Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp. in Austin, Texas; a nonprofit private industry effort to counter Japanese advances in computer and silicon chip technologies. He was responsible for MCC's newly formed West Coast laboratories. From 1998 to 1999, he served as Special Assistant to Bob Kahn, who heads the not-for-profit Corporation for National Research Initiatives. His focus was on, among other things, digital library systems, electronic payment systems and mobile information systems. In 1999, he returned to the Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science as Director. Later, due to illness, he took the title of Senior Scientist. He passed away on April 2, 2003, as a result of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He was an author of more than 60 technical publications, including a technical history of the Internet that was published in 1999.
  • Date of Birth:

    1950 April 26
  • Date of Death:

    2003 April 02
  • Noted For:

    Helped to establish the Internet Activities Board (IAB), which led the effort to set technical standards for the Internet
  • Category of Achievement:

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