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Robert E. Kahn

Bob Kahn [photo]Managing Digital Objects on the Net 
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Building 3 Auditorium - 3:30 PM

(Refreshments at 3:00 PM)


Robert E. Kahn, will talk about Managing Digital Objects on the Net. All types of information may be structured as digital objects on the net. Some may be subject to rights, value or interests. Some may be personal and require privacy or security. Some may reside behind firewalls and be otherwise inaccessible to typical search engines. A given object may move from place to place and multiple instances may even be present or reside at multiple locations. Authentication may not be available without additional services. Unauthorized instances of these objects and derivative versions, such as language translations, may exist with or without permissions. Some objects may have been created many years ago, with the intent that they be accessible for long periods of time. In the long-term, technology, participants and even institutions will surely change. Yet, old but still workable software and systems may still need to access these objects without change. At present, there is no agreement on how to manage such objects, to effectively control their usage in the network environment and to allow third-party value-added contributions to the overall management of such objects. An overall framework in which to address these issues will be discussed along with its relation to the still evolving Internet architecture.

Robert E. Kahn is Chairman, CEO and President of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), which he founded in 1986 after a thirteen year term at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). CNRI was created as a not-for-profit organization to provide leadership and funding for research and development of the National Information Infrastructure.

After receiving a B.E.E. from the City College of New York in 1960, Dr. Kahn earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University in 1962 and 1964 respectively. He worked on the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories and then became an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT. He took a leave of absence from MIT to join Bolt Beranek and Newman, where he was responsible for the system design of the Arpanet, the first packet-switched network. In 1972 he moved to DARPA and subsequently became Director of DARPA's Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO). While Director of IPTO he initiated the United States government's billion dollar Strategic Computing Program, the largest computer research and development program ever undertaken by the federal government. Dr. Kahn conceived the idea of open-architecture networking. He is a co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocols and was responsible for originating DARPA's Internet Program. CNRI provides the Secretariat for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Dr. Kahn also coined the term National Information Infrastructure (NII) in the mid 1980s which later became more widely known as the Information Super Highway.

In his recent work, Dr. Kahn has been developing the concept of a digital object architecture as a key middleware component of the NII. This notion is providing a framework for interoperability of heterogeneous information systems and is being used in many applications such as the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). He is a co-inventor of Knowbot programs, mobile software agents in the network environment.

Dr. Kahn is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a former member of its Computer Science and Technology Board, a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of AAAI, a Fellow of ACM. He is a former member of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, a former member of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine and the President's Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure.

He is a recipient of the AFIPS Harry Goode Memorial Award, the Marconi Award, the ACM SIGCOMM Award, the President's Award from ACM, the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computer and Communications Award, the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, the IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the ACM Software Systems Award, the Computerworld/Smithsonian Award, the ASIS Special Award and the Public Service Award from the Computing Research Board. He has twice received the Secretary of Defense Civilian Service Award. He is a recipient of the 1997 National Medal of Technology, the 2001 Charles Stark Draper Prize from the National Academy of Engineering, the 2002 Prince of Asturias Award, and the 2004 A. M. Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery. Dr. Kahn received the 2003 Digital ID World award for the Digital Object Architecture as a significant contribution (technology, policy or social) to the digital identity industry. In 2005, he was awarded the Townsend Harris Medal from the Alumni Association of the City College of New York, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the C & C Prize in Tokyo, Japan. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in February 2006.

Dr. Kahn has received honorary degrees from Princeton University, University of Pavia, ETH Zurich, University of Maryland, George Mason University, and the University of Central Florida, and an honorary fellowship from University College, London.

This is a Special Colloquium, held in conjunction with presentation of the Center’s fifth annual Excellence in Information Science and Technology Award. The ceremony will honor the Goddard employee who best exhibits broad accomplishment in the area of information science and technology.

IS&T Colloquium Committee Host: Ben Kobler