Technology 5 August 2004

Phill Gross recognized with the Internet Society’s Postel Award

2004 award goes to co-founder of the Internet Engineering Task Force

Geneva, Switzerland – August 5th, 2004 – The Internet Society today announced that Phill Gross is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Jonathan B. Postel Service Award. A co-founder of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Gross has been instrumental in defining and shaping the way in which the IETF standards process functions. He was awarded the Postel Service Award in recognition of his early leadership of the IETF and for firmly establishing the principles that are essential for its success.

The Postel Award will be presented on August 5th, during the 60th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in San Diego, California.

“The Internet Society is pleased to recognize Phill’s significant contribution to the area of Internet standardization by awarding him this year’s Postel Award,” said Internet Society President and CEO Lynn St.Amour. “The continued success of the Internet Engineering Task Force’s consensus-based processes shows the importance of Phill’s pioneering work in developing the IETF’s foundations.”

According to Steve Crocker, noted Internet authority and chair of this year’s Postel award committee, “Many of the IETF’s current structures, including Working Groups, Technical Areas, Proceedings and Internet Drafts came about thanks to Phill’s dedication and passion for the Internet standards area. And we’re delighted to be presenting the award to Phill in San Diego, the location of the first ever IETF meeting back in 1986.”

Gross, who is currently Director of Academics and Technology for the Northern Virginia ECPI College of Technology, has worked with the Internet community for over 20 years. His career has taken him from working with government-funded research projects through to networking engineering responsibilities for large corporations and startups, including leading the development of MCI Corporation’s first national network.

In 1986 Gross helped found the Internet Engineering Task Force. He became the first official chair in 1987 – a position he held for seven years. During his chairmanship, the IETF evolved from a government-sponsored research group to an industry-wide Internet standards body. As well as contributing to developing the IETF standards process itself, Gross played an active role as co-chair of the IETF Routing and Addressing Working Group. This group led to solutions for growth-related Internet problems and was instrumental in specifying the initial direction for the next generation Internet Protocol (IPv6) in RFC 1719. He also served as a member of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) from 1987 to 1996.

Expressing his appreciation for the award, Gross said “It was very gratifying to be there at the beginning and to work with such an incredible group of people. And, working with Jon over the years gives me a special appreciation for the honor that comes with this award.”

The Jonathan B. Postel Service Award was established by the Internet Society to honor 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 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, Stephen Wolff and Peter Kirstein. The award consists of an engraved crystal globe and $20,000.

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.

For further details

Peter Godwin
Senior Program Manager
E-mail: godwin at
Internet Society
4, rue des Falaises
1205 Geneva Switzerland

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