Mother of the Internet Radia Perlman speaks out

Sun fires executives at us for interviews faster than its Chairman Scott McNealy can rip off potshots at Bill Gates. I recently took the company up on its offer to meet with Radia Perlman, distinguished engineer at Sun Labs. Known by some as the Mother of the Internet for her development of the Spanning Tree algorithm and by others as the author of textbooks such as Interconnections, Perlman is something of an industry legend. But a down-to-earth one at that. She updated me on her latest efforts, including a security technology dubbed the ephemerizer and a sort of follow-on to Spanning Tree called TRILL. She also weighed in on topics ranging from the state of network research to being called the Mother of the Internet to the way networking is taught at colleges. Read the interview with Perlman here. As a bonus, check out the of her daughter Dawn singing a version of Perlman's poem about Spanning Tree, "Algorhyme," which is a take-off on Joyce Kilmer's poem "Trees." Perlman accompanies on the piano...

Bob Brown, bbrown@nww.com

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