IEEE

April 16th Meeting @Ethernet Tech Summit: Fireside Chat with Larry Roberts

Time & Date:  2pm-3pm  April 16, 2015
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Venue:   Santa Clara Convention Center (Ethernet Tech Summit 2015)

Title: Fireside Chat with Internet Pioneer Larry Roberts

Organizer: Alan J. Weissberger, Chair, IEEE Silicon Valley Technology History Committee

Speaker: Larry Roberts, CEO/Co-Founder, TSL Technologies

Interviewer: Geoff Thompson, Principal, GraCaSi

Abstract:

What can we learn from the origins, emergence,and explosion of the now omnipresent Internet?  Join Internet pioneer (and ARPANET creator) Larry Roberts in exploring how the Internet came about, how it reached its present state, and where it is heading in the future.  This interview will cover both historical lessons and future trends.

Larry Roberts, PhD is best known as the leader of the team that created the ARPANET using packet switching techniques.  The ARPANET was later converted into the current Internet, hence making him one of the true founders of the Internet.  He has received many awards, including the National Academy of Engineering’s Charles Stark Draper Prize “for the development of the Internet”, the AFIP Harry Goode Memorial Award, and the IEEE 2000 Internet Award.  He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  The founder and CEO of five telecommunications companies, he has developed many leading edge products to advance Internet capability, QoS, and reliability.  He holds 11 patents and has given invited presentations at many conferences worldwide.  He holds a PhD in electrical engineering, an MSEE, and a BSEE from MIT.

About the Interviewer:

Geoff Thompson is currently Principal at GraCaSi, where he serves as an advisor on networking standards development and a technical expert on intellectual property issues.  He has been a voting member of the IEEE 802.3 (Ethernet) committee for over 30 years and also serves as a Member Emeritus of the IEEE 802 Executive Committee.   He chaired the IEEE 802.3 Working Group and was later 1st Vice Chair of the 802 Executive Committee.  A long-time leader in standards development, he was a Distinguished Member, Technical Staff at Nortel Networks and a Consulting Member, Engineering Staff at Xerox.  Geoff has been a major contributor to the IEEE member discussion group, has participated in many ComSocSCV meetings and is the IEEE Silicon Valley Tech History committee officer in charge of LANs and the Internet. He holds a BSEE from Purdue University.

About the Organizer:

Alan J. Weissberger, ScD EE is the Chair of the IEEE Silicon Valley Technology History Committee, Content Manager for the global IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) Community website, North America Correspondent for the IEEE Global Communications Newsletter, Chair Emeritus of the IEEE Santa Clara Valley (SCV) ComSoc, and an IEEE Senior Life Member.  He is a former Adjunct Professor in the Santa Clara University Electrical Engineering Department and taught 42 graduate courses there. As a volunteer for the Computer History Museum, SIGCIS.org, and ITHistory.org, he writes technical summaries of lectures and exhibits.  Alan is also a contributing author for the Viodi View.

 Note:  This is an OPEN session (free if you register on-line) at the Ethernet Tech Summit 2015.  Register here.

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Postcript:  

This history session went very well with a smooth flow between Geoff and Larry.  The Q & A was also quite good, except for a question about artificial intelligence in the Internet possibly make it think on its own.  Note that software control over the network does NOT imply artificial intelligence or any thinking machines.  It’s the big data/ analytics software in cloud resident computer servers that might be able to predict outcomes based on past behavior.

Glad we could give credit to Larry as the primary creator of the X.25 protocol and his leading role in commercializing Packet Switched Public Data Networks at Telenet (later sold to GTE).  Telenet was way ahead of AT&T, Sprint and other N.A. X.25 PSPDN carriers.  In the mid to late 1970s, his version of the X.25 protocol was accepted by what is now called BT (British Post Office then) and Orange (Transpac then).  It was later enhanced by ANSI X3S37 and CCITT SG XVII WP2 (which I participated in from 1978-1985).

—>X.25 was the only commercial and international public data network from 1976 to 1993 when the Internet went public and took over (see Larry’s comments below)!   Even ISDN used X.25 on both the B and D channels (Basic Rate access) for packet switching.

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Larry’s comments:

Alan,  What can I say? Your summary is very valuable as virtually no-one has realized that the developed world had a more reliable standardized packet service for almost 2 decades before the Internet.  As to the fireside chat, it went great as Geoff fed new questions to me whenever I stopped. It worked very well.

Another thought: The time slot of 1 hour for this fireside chat was a huge difference from a prepared speech and was a serious benefit in enabling us to cover a large amount of material over a long period of time (several decades).

Thanks,

Larry

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Thanks also to Paul Wesling for being the cameraman/videographer.  He and Ken Pyle will work to get the videos edited and captioned (with the help of Larry & Geoff for the latter).

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 alan.weissberger@ieee.org

 

 

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