Robert M. Metcalfe
(April 7, 1946—)
(Photo credit: Brian Smith Photography )
Robert Metcalfe invented, standardized, and commercialized
Ethernet. Developed as a way to link the computers at Xerox's
Palo Alto Research Center to one another, Ethernet uses digital
packets and distributed controls to transmit data over what
would become the most widely used local area network, or LAN.
Metcalfe was born in Brooklyn, New York. He studied at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning bachelor degrees
in electrical engineering and industrial management before
completing his Master and Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1973.
Working with associates at PARC on some of the earliest personal
computers, Metcalfe invented one of the first and now most
widely deployed networking technologies, Ethernet. Today, over a
quarter billion new Ethernet switch ports are shipped annually
Metcalfe left Xerox in 1979 to found 3Com Corporation to
manufacture LAN equipment with Ethernet technology, retiring in
1990. He is now with Polaris Venture Partners, fostering
information technology start-ups. Metcalfe was awarded the
National Medal of Technology in 2005 for his leadership in the
invention, standardization, and commercialization of Ethernet.
Leroy E. Hood
John Joseph Lynott