Technology 16 July 2003

Peter T. Kirstein recognized with the Internet Society’s Postel Award

Kirstein noted for his foresight, persistence and innovation in Internet development

Washington, D.C. – July 16, 2003 – The Internet Society today announced that Internet pioneer Peter Kirstein is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Jonathan B. Postel Service Award. A founding member of the Internet Society, Professor Kirstein is one of the pioneers of the Internet and was directly involved with its development and evolution. He was awarded the Postel Service Award in recognition of his foresight, persistence and innovation in navigating international technical and political complexities, and thus enabling the global propagation of the Internet.

The Postel Award will be presented on July 16, during the 57th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in Vienna, Austria.

“The Internet Society is pleased to recognize Peter’s significant contribution to the development of the Internet by awarding him this year’s Postel Award,” said Internet Society President/CEO Lynn St.Amour. “His commitment to the evolution and growth of the Internet, particularly during the 1970’s, made possible the global infrastructure we have today. And, his efforts continue, most recently working in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia regions.” Steve Crocker, noted Internet authority and chair of this year’s Postel award committee, commented on Kirstein’s foresight in laying the groundwork for the Internet’s global scope. “Peter Kirstein saw that the future of networking lay in international cooperation and interconnection, and deftly organized the steps to make it happen. He used both technical and personal skills and enabled many others to do magnificent work.”

In 1973, Kirstein established one of the first two international nodes of the ARPANET, playing a very active part in the ensuing SATNET activity, which covered five countries. His group continued to provide the principal Internet link between the UK and the US throughout the 1980’s, during which time he was responsible for both the .UK and .INT domains. He continues to collaborate in US Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) programs. He has led six European projects in computers and communications funded by the European Commission, and participated in twelve more. Currently, he is leading the Silk Project, which is providing satellite-based Internet access to the Newly Independent States in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. In June, he was awarded a Commander, Order of the British Empire, for his services to Internetworking research.

He has chaired the International Collaboration Board, which currently involves six NATO countries, since 1983, and served on the Networking Panel of the NATO Science Committee (serving as chair in 2001). He has been on Advisory Committees for the Australian Research Council, the Canadian Department of Communications, the German GMD, and the Indian Education and Research Network (ERNET) Project. Kirstein obtained his undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Engineering from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and was awarded a DSc in Engineering from the University of London.

Kirstein expressed his appreciation for the award and respect for Jon Postel’s work, explaining, “Postel’s efforts to ensure the successful development and deployment of the Internet was an inspiration to us all. His stewardship of the RFC series was essential to the successful development of the Internet. His conscientious and painstaking operation of the Domain Name System and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority were indispensable to the international growth of the system. I am particularly pleased to be recipient of an award in his name, and feel greatly honored to be considered worthy of having my activities linked with his memorial.”

The Jonathan B. Postel Service Award was established by the Internet Society to honour those who have made outstanding contributions in service to the data communications community. The award is focused on sustained and substantial technical contributions, service to the community, and leadership. With respect to leadership, the nominating committee places particular emphasis on candidates who have supported and enabled others in addition to their own specific actions.

The award is named after Dr. Jonathan B. Postel, who embodied all of these qualities during his extraordinary stewardship over the course of a thirty-year career in networking. He served as the editor of the RFC series of notes from its inception in 1969, until 1998. He also served as the ARPANET “numbers Czar” and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority over the same period of time. He was a founding member of the Internet Architecture (nee Activities) 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, Daniel Karrenberg and Stephen Wolff. The award consists of an engraved crystal globe and $20,000.


Julie Williams
Phone: (703) 464-7005, x111
Cell: 703-402-6715
E-mail: [email protected]

About Internet Society

The Internet Society is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1991 to provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy. With offices in Washington, DC, and Geneva, Switzerland, it is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world. Internet Society is the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) and other Internet-related bodies who together play a critical role in ensuring that the Internet develops in a stable and open manner.

For over 12 years Internet Society has run international network training programmes for developing countries and these have played a vital role in setting up the Internet connections and networks in virtually every country connecting to the Internet during this time.

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