The so-called “father of the Ethernet” has now received the “Nobel Prize of computing.”
Robert Metcalfe, who along with the late David Boggs developed a groundbreaking standard for connecting computers, was named the recipient of the 2022 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) A.M. Turing Award. Metcalfe now joins other tech luminaries, including Sir Tim Berners-Lee (the World Wide Web) and Edwin Catmull (3D computer graphics) who have made lasting and technically important contributions in the computer science field.
Working at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in the early 1970s, Metcalfe was tasked with designing a network to connect the company’s newly developed personal computer that would allow connected computers to share information with each other. His work was detailed in an article, “Ethernet: Distributed Packet Switching for Local Computer Networks,” co-written with Boggs and published in 1976 in the ACM publication Communications of the ACM.
The Turing Award is named after Alan Turing who was instrumental in the development of modern theoretical computer science in the early 1900s. The award comes with a $1 million prize funded by Google.