Blog Posts for 2014
Send high-speed data, including video signals, over telephone wires? Impossible! That’s what everyone thought for decades, until Internet Hall of Famer Dr. John Cioffi actually did it, by designing the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) system. His big challenges were two-fold. The technological one was to come up with a design that could adapt to the more than one billion phone lines around the world; and the other, just as significant, was to come up with partners, including his students at Stanford who provided the workforce, and an early telecom that provided the project’s funding.
DSL, the No. 1 fixed-line technique for Internet communication, is used by more than half a billion people each day – and the number is growing. Here’s what Dr. Cioffi had to say about his achievement, after the Internet Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Hong Kong earlier this year.
Just as surely as the seasons change, our Internet Hall of Fame inductees can be counted on to pique the interest of the worldwide news media: Their accomplishments and ongoing work to advance a free and open Internet never fail to generate buzz. Here’s a sampling of items that ran as summer turned to fall.
Though many of us wilted in August’s heat and humidity, our august Internet Hall of Famers managed to stay mighty cool the in news media worldwide. Here are just a few examples:
China Central TV began airing a 10-episode documentary on the development of the Internet. It features, of course, Vint Cerf, Robert E. Kahn, Tim Berners-Lee, and other Internet luminaries, all of whom are enshrined in the pantheon of the Internet Hall of Fame.
Erik Huizer’s passion for engineering started early. “As a child, I was taking apart appliances in my mother’s kitchen,” he says. “I always wanted to see how things were made.”
That passion never left him. In 1983, while earning his PhD in solid-state physics, he needed to automate his data. So, he recalled recently, he bought two IBM PCs that in size, “resembled a dog house” and ran “the kind of floppy disks that were literally floppy.” He needed the two machines to communicate with each other, so he studied programming and implemented the Internet Protocol on both of them.
Today, Huizer is still tinkering: He is the Chief Technology Officer for SURFnet, a nonprofit that develops and maintains the national research and education network in the Netherlands. SURFnet is a member of GEANT (the pan-European research and education network) and the Trans-European Research and Networking Association (TERENA); and collaborates with other international partners such as CERnet in China and Internet 2 in the U.S. “While SURFnet is aimed at the Netherlands, it really knows no borders,” Huizer says. “Like Internet 2, it tries to be the most advanced network in the world. It’s geared to innovation and change, and we try to bring the latest tools to our users.” Huizer first began working for SURFnet in 1988, and he’s grateful for the...
Pandora. Spotify. Rhapsody. Slacker. Beats Music. iTunes Radio. Google Music. These are just a few of the streaming music services beginning to dominate how we groove to our tunes. According to Nielsen, music streaming is up 42 percent during the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period last year, while album downloads have dropped nearly 15 percent.
All of which is just as Karlheinz Brandenburg, often called the father of MP3, originally envisioned the way music compression would be used.
But during MP3's 13-year gestation from 1982 to 1995, streaming music wasn't a gleam in anyone's eye. In fact, during this age of the new and capacious compact disc, Dr. Brandenburg and his thesis advisor had a hard time convincing anyone that music needed to be compressed in the first place.
Considering MP3 occupies the intersection of music and math, Dr. Brandenburg seemed raised for the task. Born 20 June 1954 in the Bavarian town of Erlangen, Dr. Brandenburg's teacher parents instilled a love of music and math in the boy. Like many teens, he loved the Beatles. Unlike many teens, Dr. Brandenburg built his own amplifiers, and even sold some to his fellow students.
After high school, Dr. Brandenburg attended the local Erlangen University, earning an M.S. in electrical engineering in 1980, then his master's degree in mathematics in 1982. The chair of his...