Ethernet Alliance Applauds Bob Metcalfe on Receiving Turing Award
By Peter Jones
This year we celebrate Ethernet’s 50th anniversary. And what better way to commemorate this major milestone than Bob Metcalfe recently being honored with the A.M. Turing Award. Seeing the inventor of Ethernet join the distinguished ranks of Turing Award winners such as Gordon Bell, Tim Berners-Lee, Vinton G. Cerf, Whitfield “Whit” Diffie, Edsger W. Dijkstra, Robert E. Kahn, Dennis Ritchie, and Niklaus Wirth, is a clear recognition of the enormous impact that Ethernet has had on the world in which we live.
The Turing Award: the Nobel Prize of Computing
The Turing Award is bestowed annually by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) upon those whose contributions are deemed of lasting and major technical importance to computer science. Recognized as the most important award in Computer Science, it is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing.”
The award’s namesake is Alan Turing, a polymath who is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. The previous recipients of the Turing Award reads as a “who’s who” of the industry’s leading lights.
Bob Metcalfe’s Enduring Legacy
ACM named Bob Metcalfe the recipient of the 2022 Turing Award for his leadership in the invention, standardization, and commercialization of Ethernet. In the Ethernet Alliance’s Voices of Ethernet oral history archive, he shared his thoughts on his role as the “Father of Ethernet”, Ethernet’s continued evolution, and how and why it still plays an important role in society.
Beyond introducing the world to Ethernet, Bob is also known for Metcalfe’s law, which says that a network’s value is proportional to the square of the number of nodes in the network.
Metcalfe’s Law has since been generalized to cover network effects that drive the valuations of technology companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Uber, and are an essential component of successful digital businesses.
Ethernet is an Innovation Brand
Bob once said, “Ethernet is an innovation brand.” That has proven to be true throughout its 50-year history and there is no sign that will change any time soon, if ever. Being recognized with the Turing Award acknowledges the profound contributions Bob has made to society. We congratulate Bob Metcalfe on this great honor and we look forward to the next 50 years of Ethernet.