ACM A.M. Turing Award Lecture by Bob Metcalfe

Emeritus UT Austin Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

When: April 30, 2023, 5-7PM Central Time,
Where: Zlotnik Ballroom at AT&T Conference Center at UT Austin,
Location: 1900 University Ave, Austin, TX 78705

5-6PM: ACM A.M. Turing Award Lecture at The ACM Web Conference by Bob Metcalfe.
6-7PM: Reception in honor of Bob Metcalfe 2022 A.M. Turing Award Recipient.
- Opening of the reception by Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, UK
- Closing of the reception by Professor and Motorola Regents Chair Diana Marculescu, Department Chair of Chandra Family Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UT Austin


The most important new fact about the human condition is that we are now suddenly connected. When I say “suddenly” I refer to the Internet’s birthday, October 29, 1969 and how two thirds of the human race, five billion people, are already on the Internet, in only 50 years. Suddenly.

The Arpanet started the Internet in 1969 by networking time-shared minicomputers serving dumb character terminals. Then in 1973 Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) decided to put a personal computer on every desk. Ethernet was invented on May 22, 1973 to provide local connectivity among those PCs, one on every desk, if you can imagine that..

The PARC Ethernet was formed by combining Jerrold coaxial vampire taps, Manchester on-off keying, and Alohanet randomized retransmissions. Then we wrapped it in internet protocols according to a layered reference model. Then we standardized it all: Ethernet, IP, TCP, TELNET, FTP, Mail, URL, HTML, HTTP.

Ethernet evolved rapidly away from its Jerrold-Manchester-Alohanet prototype. Ethernet’s legacy is instead packets to the desktop, abundance of bandwidth, and standardization. Come hear all about it. GPT is writing my lecture now.



Bob Metcalfe just entered his 6th career: COMPUTATIONAL ENGINEER. He's been appointed Research Affiliate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) at MIT, his alma mater. For 11 years Bob served as Professor of Innovation at the Cockrell School of Engineering, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the McCombs School of Business, and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at The University of Texas at Austin. Bob retired from UTAustin as Emeritus Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "My work here, on the Texas/Austin/UTAustin startup ecosystem, is done." Bob was an Internet pioneer beginning in 1970 at MIT, Harvard, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Parc), Stanford, and 3Com. He invented Ethernet at Parc on May 22, 1973. Today Ethernet is the Internet ' s standard plumbing, each year adding billions of ports, if we let Bob count Wireless Ethernet (Wi-Fi). Bob remains a champion of Ethernet and connectivity in general, according to Metcalfe's Law (V~N^2). The Internet turned 50 in 2019, just in time for COVID-19. The most important new fact about the human condition is that, and it ' s mostly good news, we are now suddenly connected. Among many other honors, Bob has won the Bell, Hopper, Japan C&C, Marconi, McCluskey, Shannon, and Stibitz Prizes. He has been inducted into the Internet, Consumer Electronics, and Computer History Museum Halls of Fame. He is Emeritus Life Trustee of MIT. Bob received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Medal of Honor in 1996 and the National Medal of Technology in 2005 for leadership in the invention, standardization, and commercialization of Ethernet. Bob founded Internet startup 3Com Corporation in Silicon Valley on June 4, 1979. 3Com went public on March 21, 1984. Bob &quot retired” from 3Com in 1990. In 1999, 3Com revenue was $5.7B, and its market capitalization peaked momentarily at an inflation-adjusted $52 billion, of which Bob didn’t even get half. 3Com was acquired by HP Enterprise in 2010. During the 1990s, Bob was CEO/Publisher/Pundit at IDG/InfoWorld Magazine. His Internet column, FROM THE ETHER, was read weekly by a million? information technologists among IDG ' s 90 countries. In his column he was famously wrong in predicting the Internet would suffer a gigalapse in 1996. Read all about this prediction in Bob ' s book, INTERNET COLLAPSES, still available on During the 2000s, Bob was a limited, venture, general, and now emeritus Polaris Partner in Boston.