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Radia Perlman

Class of 2023-24

Dr. Radia Perlman

Fellow, Dell EMC

For more than three decades, Dr. Radia Perlman has been instrumental in the development and advancement of modern computer networks. Her innovative contributions to network design and standardization, including the function of link-state routing protocols and spanning tree Ethernet, have earned her the nickname “Mother of the Internet.”

Perlman’s most widely known invention, Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), was adopted as an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 802.1d standard in 1990. STP prevents bridge loops and broadcast radiation for Ethernet networks and is essential to the basic operation of network bridges.

In effort to improve STP, Perlman also designed Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) protocol, which combines bridging and routing techniques to support multipathing in the data center.  

She received her doctorate in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  

Perlman is a fellow of Dell Technologies, the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, as well as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She has been inducted in the Internet Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

She has received the SIGCOMM Award, Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communications; the USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award; and became the first recipient of the Women of Vision Award for Innovation, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

Data Communications magazine named her one of the 20 most influential people in the industry in 1992 and among its top 25 technologists in 1997.

She has authored two books and 36 peer-reviewed articles and has received more than 200 patents.

Perlman will collaborate with researchers, students and faculty in the College of Engineering.