Re: [Fwd: Author of Ping passes away (fwd)]

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From: Janie Wilkins (
Date: Mon Nov 27 2000 - 07:46:52 PST

A search of the Dow Jones News Retrieval service confirms the reports that
Mike Muuss did pass away one week ago. His funeral is due to begin in
approximately 15 minutes EST. I have attached the full-text of an obituary
article from the Baltimore Sun for those who wish to read it.


                     Michael John Muuss, 42, computer expert whose software
had key role in Internet
                     Michael Stroh
                     SUN STAFF

                     The Baltimore Sun
                     (Copyright 2000 @ The Baltimore Sun Company)

                     Michael John Muuss, a multi-talented computer wizard who
helped lay the foundations for the
                     modern-day Internet, was killed Monday in an automobile
accident near his home in Havre de Grace.
                     He was 42.

                     A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University, Mr. Muuss
spent his entire career at the U.S. Army
                     Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, where he
established a reputation as an
                     enthusiastic problem-solver who did groundbreaking work
in areas ranging from computer networks
                     to graphics.

                     "He was an engineer's engineer," said Joseph Pistritto of
Belmont, Calif., a longtime friend and former
                     Hopkins classmate. "I doubt there's hardly any week he
didn't put in 60 hours."

                     Mr. Muuss is most widely known in computing circles for
being the author of a software program
                     called "Ping."

                     Written in one evening in 1983, the program is one of the
most widely used diagnostic tools for
                     computer networks in the world, with a version of it
included in Microsoft Windows.

                     "It's probably one of the most minor things he ever did
in his life, but the one that most people use,"
                     Pistritto said.

                     In the early 1980s, Mr. Muuss' work on computer networks
also helped lay the technological
                     foundation that would transform what was then called the
ARPANET, an obscure military computer
                     network created in 1969 by the Department of Defense,
into the modern-day Internet.

                     Mr. Muuss' interest in electronics began early. His
father, Rolf Muuss of Lutherville, a professor
                     emeritus of education at Goucher College, recalled his
son building radios from kits by age 7. He got
                     his first taste of computers as a teen-ager during a
visit to the Goucher College computer center and
                     was hooked.

                     Mr. Muuss exhibited an early knack for programming,
quickly creating a tic-tac-toe game despite a
                     lack of formal training. A Monopoly game he wrote as an
adolescent was so good that it beat him.

                     "When he saw that his computer program was superior to
himself, he was ecstatic," his father said.

                     Mr. Muuss' reputation would follow him. His work in
computer security landed him a cameo
                     appearance in Clifford Stoll's 1989 hacker classic "The
Cuckoo's Egg," a nonfiction thriller about the
                     hunt for an international band of computer criminals.

                     Mr. Stoll wrote: "When Mike [Muuss] talks, other wizards

                     In 1990, Mr. Muuss was one of the government's key
witnesses in the case against Robert Morris,
                     whose software "worm" in 1988 nearly brought down the

                     In recent years, Mr. Muuss' research shifted to computer
graphics and animation. He created a
                     program called BRL-CAD that allowed the military to
create sophisticated 3-D models. Before, the work
                     was done using punch cards and printouts.

                     "It was a major breakthrough," said Chuck Kennedy of
Belcamp, who had worked with Mr. Muuss in
                     the Army Research Laboratory for almost 20 years. "He
could program like you and I use the English

                     Over the years, BRL-CAD has become one of the Army's
most- licensed technologies and is used to
                     model everything from tanks to brain tumors.

                     Mr. Muuss, who was an avid photographer, received many
awards for his technological discoveries.
                     In 1999, he was given the Research and Development
Achievement Award, the Army's highest civilian
                     award for scientific accomplishment.

                     Born in Iowa City, Iowa, Mr. Muuss grew up in
Lutherville. While at Towson High School, he was
                     enrolled in a program at Johns Hopkins for gifted youth
and began taking college courses. He received
                     his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from
Hopkins in 1979, three years after he started.

                     He died while returning home from a restaurant, when his
car was involved in a multivehicle pileup on
                     Interstate 95.

                     Mr. Kennedy said Mr. Muuss liked to keep a list of things
he wanted to accomplish in life and had
                     crossed off most of the items on it.

                     "When I saw him last, he was working on his next list,"
Mr. Kennedy said.

                     Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Divinity
Lutheran Church, 1220 Providence Road, Towson.

                     Besides his father, Mr. Muuss is survived by his wife,
the former Susan Pohl of Edgewood; and a
                     sister, Gretchen Frensemeier of Lutherville.

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