Richard L. Adams, Jr. is the founder of UUNET Technologies, the first commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP) and one of the largest Internet traffic carriers in the world in the 1990s. Among other things, Adams’ accomplishments at the helm of UUNET include the invention of Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP), technology that allows personal computers to connect to the Internet via modems. In the early 1980s, 3Com’s UNET Unix system could exchange TCP/IP traffic over serial lines; in 1984 Adams implemented this system on Berkeley Unix 4.2 and dubbed it SLIP. The SLIP protocol was documented in RFC 1055. The SLIP protocol was superseded in the early 1990s by the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), which is still in use.
Rick Adams founded a nonprofit telecommunications company, UUNET Communications Service, to reduce the cost of mail and Usenet traffic sent by UUCP. (UUNET was founded with a $50,000 loan from the USENIX Association, which was subsequently repaid.) UUNET became an official gateway between UUCP mail and Internet email, as well as between North America and Europe. It hosted many related services, such as Internet FTP access for its UUCP clients and the comp.sources.unix archives.
Adams spun out a for-profit company, UUNET Technologies, which was the first ISP in the United States. The for-profit company bought the assets of the nonprofit, repaying it with a share of the profits over the years. The nonprofit has spent that money for many UNIX-related charitable causes over the years, such as supporting the Internet Software Consortium. The for-profit ISP became a multi-billion-dollar company and made an initial public offering in 1995. It was acquired by MFS (Metropolitan Fiber Systems, a wide-area optical-networking company) in 1996; MFS was subsequently acquired by WorldCom, which rose to challenge the largest telecommunications companies in America.
Adams co-authored the O’Reilly book !%@:: A Directory of Electronic Mail Addressing & Networks with his wife Donnalyn Frey. He is also co-author of RFC 1036, the Standard for Interchange of USENET Messages.
He obtained a master’s degree in computer science from Purdue University.
Fred Baker has been involved in the data communications industry since 1978, working for Control Data Corporation, Vitalink Communications, Advanced Computer Communications, and Cisco Systems. His stint at Cisco was from 1994 until 2016. Since then, he has worked as a contractor, notably for the Internet Society and ISC. Since 2017, he has represented ISC in the Root Server System Advisory Committee of ICANN, and as of 2018 is a co-chair of that committee.
Since 1989, Baker has been involved with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the body that develops standards for the Internet. He chaired a number of IETF working groups, including several that specified the management information bases (MIB) used to manage network bridges and popular telecommunications links. Baker served as IETF chair from 1996 to 2001, when he was succeeded by Harald Tveit Alvestrand, and he served on the Internet Architecture Board from 1996 through 2002. He has co-authored or edited at least 60 Request for Comments (RFC) documents on Internet protocols, and contributed to others. The subjects covered include network management, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) and Routing Information Protocol (RIPv2) routing, quality of service (using both the Integrated Services and Differentiated Services models), Lawful Interception, precedence-based services on the Internet, and others.
In addition, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society from 2002 through 2008, and as its chair from 2002 through 2006. He was a member of the Technical Advisory Council of the US Federal Communications Commission in 2004. He has worked as liaison to other standards organizations such as the ITU-T. In 2009-2010, he served as chair of the RFC Series Oversight Committee.
Since 2005, Baker co-chairs the IPv6 Operations Working Group in the IETF. He represented IETF on the National Institute of Standards and Technology Smart Grid Smart Grid Interoperability Panel and Architecture Committee from 2008-2013, and was Cisco’s representative to a Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group. Baker also has several patents.
Baker attended the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology from 1970 to 1973.
David J. “Dave” Farber is a professor of computer science, noted for his major contributions to programming languages and computer networking. He is currently a Distinguished Professor at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan and Co-Director of the Cyber Civilization Reseach Center at Keio.
Dr. Farber graduated from the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1956 and began an 11-year career at Bell Laboratories, where he helped design the first electronic switching system (ESS-1) and the SNOBOL programming languages. He subsequently held industry positions at the Rand Corporation and Scientific Data Systems, followed by academic positions at the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Delaware.
At Irvine his research work was focused on creating the world’s first operational distributed computer system. While a member of the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Delaware, he helped conceive and organize the major American research networks CSNET, NSFNet, and the National Research and Education Network (NREN). He helped create the NSF/DARPA-funded Gigabit Network Testbed Initiative and served as the Chairman of the Gigabit Testbed Coordinating Committee.
Dr. Farber subsequently was appointed Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Telecommunication Systems at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also held appointments as Professor of Business and Public Policy at the Wharton School of Business and as a Faculty Associate of the Annenberg School for Communication. He served as Chief Technologist at the US Federal Communications Commission (2000–2001) while on leave from the university.
He also was a Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy at the School of Computer Science, Heinz College, and Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
He is a Fellow of the IEEE, ACM, and the AAAS.
Stephen Wolff is one of the many fathers of the Internet. He is mainly credited with turning the Internet from a government project into something that proved to have both scholarly and commercial interest for the rest of the world. Dr. Wolff realized before most the potential in the Internet and began selling the idea that the Internet could have a profound effect on the commercial world.
Wolff taught Electrical Engineering in The Johns Hopkins University, and subsequently spent fourteen years managing a computing and communications research group at the US Army Ballistic Research Laboratory, which (among other things) ported Berkeley UNIX to a variety of computers of the day including the Denelcor HEP, an early supercomputer; the group also participated in the development and deployment of the ARPANET.
In 1986, Wolff was appointed Division Director for Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure at the National Science Foundation, where he managed the NSFNET project. That included a national backbone network in the US that interconnected NSF sponsored supercomputing centers, regional research and education networks, federal agency networks, and international research and education networks. The regional networks connected to the backbone and in turn interconnected the nation’s colleges, universities, and other public institutions and so provided universal connectivity to the academic community. The NSFNET connected to the ARPANET by adopting the TCP/IP protocols, which became the de facto standard of the nascent Internet.
In 1994, Wolff left NSF and joined Cisco, where he continued to support academic networking research and infrastructure. From 2011 until his retirement in 2017 he served as Interim Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, and later Chief Scientist at Internet2, a not-for-profit technology company that provides a backbone network and related services for US higher education.