IP: Announcement of ITU silver medal award to Jon Postel

Dave Farber (farber@cis.upenn.edu)
Wed, 22 Jul 1998 15:39:25 -0500

22 July 1998

Jon Postel awarded ITU silver medal at INET '98 for his
central role in the success story of the Internet

Geneva - Dr Jon Postel received today the ITU silver medal for his
central role in the success story of the Internet. The medal was
awarded on behalf of ITU Secretary-General, Dr Pekka Tarjanne, in
recognition of Dr Postel's outstanding contribution to the
development of the Global Information Infrastructure, through his
management of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

In the world of Internet governance, few organizations play as
critical a role as the IANA. Unique numbers and unique names of
the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) must be assigned and managed
in an orderly fashion to enable the functioning of the Internet.
That has been IANA's task from the very beginning of the Internet.
IANA has been managing the root of the DNS to promote stability
and robustness and has ensured that every Internet computer had a
unique IP number. To this end, the IANA has been allocating blocks
of numerical addresses to regional IP registries throughout the
world which in turn issue them to Internet service providers and
users. The IANA also assigns and maintains a registry of the
values used for several technical parameters including protocol
numbers, port numbers, and others which must also be unique for
the Internet to work. The fact that the on-going number
assignments has continued to work effectively despite the
phenomenal growth of the Internet which now boasts of 24.7 million
hosts, is a credit to the architects of the system and to IANA
which administers it.

Jon Postel is a legendary figure in the world of Internet.
Together with Vint Cerf, Steve Crocker and a handful of other
experts, Postel, currently a researcher at the University of
Southern California's (USC) Information Sciences Institute (ISI),
played a seminal role in the development of the Internet.

For years, Postel has quietly made sure every Internet protocol
has a unique identifier, not a glamorous job though an
indispensable one, and accomplished his duties remarkably well.

Postel said that the origins of the IANA may be traced back to the
beginings of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network
(ARPANet) in 1969, when he first began keeping a list of network
protocol numbers on a scrap of notebook paper.

At the age of just 25, Postel got involved with the Network
Management Center, which conducted performance tests and analysis
on the earliest nodes of ARPANet. Since then, Postel has taken on
more duties including the development of many Internet protocols
such as the Domain Name System, File Transfer, Telnet, and the
basic Internet Protocol (IP) itself, and, for the past quarter of
a century, the role of editor of the Request for Comments (RFC)
acting as the final check before publishing any IETF standards.
His long-standing involvement and dedication has made him one of
the most venerated members of the Internet elite. In fact, "Where
Wizards Stay Up Late" - a book on the origins of the Internet -
makes reference to him at least 17 times.

Jon Postel
Jon Postel is the Director of ISI's Computer Networks Division.
He received his B.S. and M.S. in Engineering, and his Ph.D. in
Computer Science from UCLA, in 1966, 1968, and 1974 respectively.
At UCLA he was involved in the beginnings of the ARPANet and the
development of the Network Measurement Center. He has worked in
the areas of computer communication protocols, especially at the
operating system level and the application level. Jon has played a
key role in the development of many Internet protocols, including
the Domain Name System, File Transfer, and Telnet. He authored
the specifications for the Internet Protocol (IP), and the Simple
Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP); and he was the document editor for
many other Internet protocol specifications. His current
interests include multi-machine internetwork applications,
multimedia conferencing and electronic mail, very large networks,
and very high speed communications.