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Internet Society Honors CSNET Designers

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UW-Madison Professor Emeritus Lawrence Landweber

"I realized it was really important for the computer science department here to be on a network," Lawrence Landweber says of the formation of CSNET.

Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Internet Society has honored the designers of an early computer network with its 2009 Jonathan B. Postel Service Award. The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Lawrence Landweber, Purdue University's Peter Denning, the University of Delaware's David Farber, and RAND Corp.'s Anthony Hearn were leaders in developing the Computer Science Network (CSNET), which was built in the early 1980s. CSNET connected computer science researchers in university and private settings similar to the handful of sites of the U.S. Defense Department's ARPANET.

"In 1979, I realized it was really important for the computer science department here to be on a network, either the ARPANET or another network," Landweber says. The computer scientists proposed the idea to the National Science Foundation, but were turned down three times before they received funding. The network grew to include nearly 200 universities and companies and tens of thousands of users by 1985, and would influence the development of similar computer networks by researchers in other countries and ultimately the Internet.

"CSNET's community-driven, self-sustaining governance structure was an early example of the model that helps ensure that even as today's Internet grows and evolves, it remains an open platform for innovation around the world," says Internet Society CEO Lynn St. Amour.

From University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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