Radia Perlman is considered by many to be one of the most critical individuals in the development of certain network protocols and algorithms that still support how the Internet we know today functions.
In a recent in-depth profile on the life and career of Perlman (2014 Internet Hall of Fame inductee), Steven Johnson follows her career with steps along the way including her perseverance as the sole woman in her freshman undergraduate class at MIT to her development of the spanning tree protocol and her influence on younger professionals through her well-known 1992 textbook, Interconnections.
As the author notes, “We tend to focus on the glittery applications that we interact with directly—TikTok and Chrome and Spotify—but all those apps would be worthless without the quiet miracle of stable network architecture, seamlessly connecting servers and routers all around the world. That architecture was the product of many minds, each contributing small pieces to the puzzle that over time has given us the network stability that the entire world depends on. Radia Perlman contributed more than her fair share of those pieces over her long career—and probably did...
Vint Cerf, David Clark, and Henning Schulzrinne among those surveyed for study on the future of the metaverse.
The metaverse can be understood as a blended virtual and physical space of computer-generated, networked extended reality, augmented reality, as well as mixed and virtual reality (AR, MR and VR).
The term and its associated technologies have become more visible largely due to a corporate rebrand of the social media platform Facebook to Meta in 2021.
But, what makes up the metaverse? How does the Internet fuel its progress? And, how do people see its role in society evolving? With rising public interest in these questions, Pew Research Center, in collaboration with the Elon Imagining the Internet Center, conducted a wide-reaching survey of over 600 experts in the spring of 2022 asking participants about where extended reality tools that make the metaverse possible and the trends seen today may take us by 2040.
At age 13, Carlos Afonso, growing up near the banks of the Parana River in Brazil, discovered a knack for fixing radios. It was an inherited skill he attributes to his Italian grandfather, who he remembers could fix just about any machine.
It wasn't long before Carlos and some friends leveraged these skills to launch a clandestine radio station. "We broadcast music and talk programs and were able to reach neighboring cities." It was a brief endeavor, but one that started Afonso on a life-long path supporting a belief that everyone deserves equal access to the tools of communication.
In 1964 Afonso began attending the University of São Paulo. His parents were of modest means, but he notes, "my mother managed to gather enough resources so I could study naval engineering.” While there, he had his first encounter with computers – the early punch-card variety.
In Afonso’s first years at the university, the Brazilian military took power in Brazil and established a dictatorship hostile to new ideas and democracy itself. Unlike many of his peers, Afonso, whose studies were supported by the Navy, was allowed to continue attending. He remembers a Navy official telling him, “It is impossible that a good student like you has a passion for resisting the government!” That official, it seems, wasn’t aware of Afonso’s passion for democratic values and his commitment to the...
By Dan Rosenheim
Sandwiched between China and northern India, and just east of Nepal, the kingdom of Bhutan historically ranked among the world’s most insular states, largely free from international communications – and even outside visitors.
But the 21st century has swept change into the small mountain nation, bringing cars, highrises, sprawl and, perhaps most significantly, the Internet.
And no person contributed more to the web’s development in Bhutan than Philip Smith, a native-born Scot who has spent much of his professional career helping strengthen and connect Internet service in less-developed parts of the world.
Smith has brought his special expertise in connecting networks to many Asian Pacific nations, as well as to parts of Africa and the Middle East, and that work in turn has brought Smith admission to the Internet Hall of Fame.
For Smith, the Internet’s great importance lies in the economic development possibilities it brings – the chance to improve the quality of people’s lives.
“I don’t really care if someone wants to get access to YouTube,” he said during an interview. “What I consider important is that the economy flows to make things better for local people.”
He cites by way of an esoteric, yet meaningful, example a medicinal parasite...
On April 6, 2022, Tadao Takahashi, 2017 Internet Hall of Fame inductee and one of the most important figures in the creation of the Brazilian Internet, passed away in his home city of Campinas, Brazil. Takahashi was instrumental in the earliest planning and deployment of the Internet in Brazil and for more than three decades he dedicated his life to furthering Internet access in the country and beyond.
Takahashi was the founder of the National Education and Research Network (RNP) and the first director of the Brazilian academic network. He was a key player in the 1995 creation of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br), an organization that continues to advocate for the coordination and integration of Internet service initiatives in Brazil. In 1998, he founded the Brazilian chapter of the Internet Society.
A true collaborator, Takahashi noted in his 2017 Internet Hall of Fame acceptance speech, “There are more than three hundred people who I could recall individually and with whom I worked with for ten to twelve years deploying the Brazilian Internet.” Through his work he fostered international relationships...