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Technology 24 June 2002

Stephen Wolff Receives the Internet Society’s Postel Service Award for 2002

Wolff noted for his extraordinary commitment to the growth and success of the Internet

Washington, D.C. – June 24, 2002 – The Internet Society today announced that Internet pioneer Stephen Wolff is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Jonathan B. Postel Service Award. A founding member of the Internet Society, Wolff is considered one of the “fathers of the Internet” and was directly involved with its development and evolution. He was awarded the Postel Service Award in recognition of his significant contributions and long-standing service to the Internet community.

“We are pleased to recognize Steve with the Postel Award,” said Internet Society President/CEO Lynn St.Amour. “He and Jon Postel were our first two individual members. For this and for their subsequent support, we owe them a tremendous debt. Steve helped transform the Internet from an activity that served the specific goals of the research community to a worldwide enterprise which has energized scholarship and commerce throughout the world.”

Wolff was also commended in 1994 by the Internet Society board for his courage and leadership in promoting the growth of the Internet. The text of the commendation states: “The personal leadership of Dr Wolff, often under conditions of public controversy, has been an indispensable ingredient in surmounting a daunting array of technical, operational and economic challenges. His extraordinary commitment to the growth and success of the Internet reflect the highest standard of service to the networking community and command our respect and admiration.”

As Director of the Division of Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure at the US National Science Foundation, Wolff was among the founders of the inter-agency and international research networking management and advisory structure whose descendants today include the Large-Scale Networking (LSN) working group and the PITAC.

Wolff left the federal government and joined Cisco Systems, Inc. in 1995, where he works in the University Research Program. The program supports academic investigators with unrestricted grants for research on computer networks.

Wolff was educated at Swarthmore College, Princeton University, and Imperial College. He taught electrical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University for ten years and subsequently spent fifteen years leading a computing- and network-related research group at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. In1983 he took a sabbatical half-year as a Program Director in the Mathematics Division of the U.S. Army Research Office.

The Award is named for Dr. Jonathan B. Postel to recognize and commemorate the extraordinary stewardship he exercised over the course of a thirty year career in networking. Postel passed away in 1998 at the age of 55. The Economist magazine once dubbed him “god” of the Internet. He served as the editor of the RFC series of notes from its inception in 1969 until 1998. He was involved in the beginnings of the ARPANET and the development of the Network Measurement Center and later established the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which acted as the Internet’s central coordination, allocation, and registration body for addresses, names, and protocol parameters. He was a founding member of the Internet Architecture Board and the first individual member of the Internet Society, where he also served as a trustee.

Previous recipients of the Postel Award include Jon himself (posthumously and accepted by his mother), Scott Bradner, an Internet standards-leader, and Daniel Karrenberg, one of the Internet’s leading contributors in Europe. The award consists of an engraved crystal globe and $20,000.

The Internet Society is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1991 to be the international focal point for global cooperation and coordination in the development of the Internet. Through its current initiatives in support of education and training, internet standards and protocol, and public policy, Internet Society has played a critical role in ensuring that the Internet has developed in a stable and open manner. For 10 years ISOC has run international network training programs for developing countries which have played a vital role in setting up the Internet connections and networks in virtually every country that has connected to the Internet.

About Internet Society

The Internet Society is a nonprofit, non-governmental, open membership organization whose worldwide individual and organization members make up a veritable “who’s who” of the Internet industry. It provides leadership in technical and operational standards, policy issues, and education. Internet Society is the organizational home of the International Engineering Task Force, the Internet Architecture Board, the Internet Engineering Steering Group, and the Internet Research Task Force – the standards setting and research arms of the Internet community.


Julie Williams
tel: (703) 326-9880, x103
Email: [email protected]

Read also: Letter of award from 2002 Postel Award Committee to Steve Wolff (archived content)

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