|Born||1951 (age 66–67)
Portsmouth, Virginia, US
|Known for||Network and security protocols; computer books|
|Thesis||Network layer protocols with Byzantine robustness (1988)|
|Doctoral advisor||David D. Clark|
Radia Joy Perlman (born January 1, 1951) is an American software designer and network engineer. She is most famous for her invention of the spanning-tree protocol (STP), which is fundamental to the operation of network bridges, while working for Digital Equipment Corporation. She also made large contributions to many other areas of network design and standardization, such as link-state protocols, including TRILL, which she invented to correct some of the shortcomings of spanning-trees.
She is currently employed by Dell EMC.
Perlman grew up in New Jersey, with both of her parents, who were both engineers. She describes herself as "shy, quiet, and an 'A' student." In school, she took a programming class that, as she explains, "was really intimidating" since "I was not a hands-on type person" like the rest of the class, which was all men. Besides being interested in math and science, Perlman enjoyed the arts as well, which included playing the piano, composing music and writing. Considered an overachiever by her classmates, Perlman would often go above and beyond in her schoolwork and was known for getting the highest marks. She felt drawn to math and science courses because of the fact that she could control her grade by knowing the "right answer" in contrast to English and writing classes that were more subjective in nature.
As an undergraduate at MIT she undertook a UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity), in lieu of course units, within the LOGO Lab at the (then) MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Working under the supervision of Seymour Papert, she developed a child-friendly version of the educational robotics language LOGO, called TORTIS ("Toddler's Own Recursive Turtle Interpreter System"). During research performed in 1974–76, young children—the youngest aged 3½ years, programmed a LOGO educational robot called a Turtle. Radia has been described as a pioneer of teaching young children computer programming.
During her undergrad, Perlman was often one of the only female students attending her math classes and discussions. She had become so use to this experience, that she was basically unaware of the extreme gender imbalance in her field. However, whenever she noticed another woman in her class, Perlman would see this other female almost as an outsider until she realized that they were both of the same gender. This shows that she recognized that society deemed women to be "out of place" in scientific and math based environments.
Perlman obtained a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT in 1988. Her doctoral thesis at MIT addressed the issue of routing in the presence of malicious network failures.
Life and career
She is most famous for her invention of the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), which is fundamental to the operation of network bridges, while working for Digital Equipment Corporation. She also made large contributions to many other areas of network design and standardization, such as link-state protocols, including TRILL, which she invented to correct some of the shortcomings of spanning-trees. She has said "The protocol is really very simple, I can summarize it in a poem!"
Her work transformed the Ethernet protocol from using a few nodes over a limited distance, into something able to create large networks.
Perlman is the author of a textbook on networking and coauthor of another on network security. She holds more than 100 issued patents.
She has taught courses at the University of Washington, Harvard University and MIT, and has been the keynote speaker at events all over the world. Perlman holds over 100 issued patents and is the recipient of awards such as Lifetime Achievement awards from Usenix and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM).
- National Inventors Hall of Fame induction (2016)
- Internet Hall of Fame induction (2014)
- SIGCOMM Award (2010)
- USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award (2006)
- Recipient of the first Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Award for Innovation in 2005
- Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association Inventor of the year (2003)
- Honorary Doctorate, Royal Institute of Technology (June 28, 2000)
- Twice named as one of the 20 most influential people in the industry by Data Communications magazine: in the 20th anniversary issue (January 15, 1992) and the 25th anniversary issue (January 15, 1997). Perlman is the only person to be named in both issues.
- Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, class of 2016
- Perlman, Radia (1999). Interconnections: Bridges, Routers, Switches, and Internetworking Protocols (2 ed.). Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series. ISBN 978-0-201-63448-8.
- Perlman, Radia; Kaufman, Charlie; Speciner, Mike (1995). Network Security: Private Communication in a Public World (2 ed.). PTR Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-061466-7.
- Salim, Nancy Oct. 18, 2010 "Meet the "Mother of the Internet""
- Rosen, Rebecca J. "Radia Perlman: Don't Call Me the Mother of the Internet". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- Leonel Morgado; et al. (2006). "Radia Perlman – A pioneer of young children computer programming". Current Developments in Technology-Assisted Education: 1903–1908. CiteSeerX .
- "Radia Perlman". MIT. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- Radia J. Perlman (1988). "Network Layer Protocols with Byzantine Robustness (Ph.D. thesis)". MIT. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
- Tom Foremski (2011-04-21). "Don't call Radia Mother of the Internet". Silicon Valley Watcher. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Patents by Inventor Radia J. Perlman". Justia Patents. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "Radia Perlman | Internet Hall of Fame". internethalloffame.org. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
- "Internet Hall of Fame Pioneer Radia Perlman". Internet Society.
- "2010 SIGCOM Lifetime Achievement Award given to Radia Perlman". SIGCOMM.
- Fuller, Brian (18 October 2005). "Perlman, Samuelson, Tsao, honored for innovations". EETimes. UBM Electronics. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
- "Inventors of The Year", Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association (SVIPLA). Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "ACM Recognizes New Fellows", Communications of the ACM, 60 (3): 23, March 2017, doi:10.1145/3039921.
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