Internet Hall of Fame Honors UT Austin Professor Bob Metcalfe and Alum Robert Taylor

August 02, 2013

Professor Bob Metcalfe and alumnus Robert Taylor from The University of Texas at Austin will join the ranks of notable individuals who have been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame for their significant contributions to the advancement of the global Internet.

On Aug. 3 in Berlin, the Internet Society inducted Cockrell School of Engineering professor of innovation Metcalfe and College of Liberal Arts alum Taylor into the 2013 Internet Hall of Fame.

The Internet Hall of Fame, which was established in 2012, includes prominent trailblazers and world-renowned thinkers who have helped to form what has become one of society’s most vital vehicles for communication, advancement and commerce. Wired Magazine hailed inductees as “the net’s most influential engineers, evangelists and troublemakers,” including such names as Vinton Cerf, Mitchell Baker and Al Gore.

Of three categories of recognition — Pioneer, Innovator and Global Connector — both Metcalfe and Taylor have been named Pioneers, a category that celebrates individuals who were instrumental in the early design and development of the Internet.

Taylor is considered by many to be a father of the Internet and a visionary leader in the creation and development of computer networking. Metcalfe is best known for co-inventing the Ethernet, today’s standard packet plumbing for the Internet, in 1973 and for founding 3Com Corporation in 1979 (merged with Hewlett-Packard in 2010), an early provider of Internet hardware and software.

“It was my good fortune and now high honor to have been associated with the Internet since 1970,” Metcalfe said. “There is much to learn about innovation from the Internet’s success. And there are many benefits ahead from the collective intelligence that it creates.”

Metcalfe is a former publisher of InfoWorld and served as a general partner at Polaris Venture Partners. He joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2011, and he teaches and mentors students on creating and building startups through the Longhorn Startup Program, which he created his first year at UT Austin.

Taylor received his master’s degree in psychology from the university in 1964 and went on to serve as the director of the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency. He became the first project manager of the ARPAnet, which is universally regarded as the precursor to today’s Internet.

“Taylor clearly saw what was possible before many technical experts did,” said J Strother Moore, UT Austin professor in the Department of Computer Science, who worked with Taylor in the early 1970s. “The first Internet was actually at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), one of Taylor’s great research labs. The joy of working with him was that you felt that you were following your dream and yet the result was bigger than the sum of the parts.”

Metcalfe and Taylor also worked together at PARC from 1972-1975, when Metcalfe created the Ethernet. Both have received the National Medal of Technology (Taylor in 1999; Metcalfe in 2003) and have been named museum fellows by the Computer History Museum (Metcalfe in 2008; Taylor in 2013), among many other awards and recognitions.

“This year’s inductees include extraordinary individuals who have helped make the Internet what it is today, the most successful global platform for communication, social and economic development ever seen,” said Lynn St. Armour, president and CEO of the Internet Society, which established the Internet Hall of Fame. “We applaud these inductees for their passion and commitment to the Internet and its role in making the world a better place.”

For more information on the Internet Hall of Fame, visit http://www.internethalloffame.org/.