David Boggs

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David Boggs
Born(1950-06-17)June 17, 1950
Washington, D.C., U.S.
DiedFebruary 19, 2022(2022-02-19) (aged 71)
Alma materPrinceton University (B.S.E.)
Stanford University (Ph.D.)
Known forCo-invention of Ethernet
AwardsIEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award (1988)
ACM Fellow, AAAS Fellow
Scientific career
FieldsComputer networking
InstitutionsXerox PARC

David Reeves Boggs (June 17, 1950 – February 19, 2022) was an American electrical and radio engineer who developed early prototypes of Internet protocols, file servers, gateways, network interface cards[1] and, along with Robert Metcalfe and others, co-invented Ethernet, the most popular family of technologies for local area computer networks.[2]


David Boggs was born in Washington, D.C. to James Boggs and Jane (McCallum) Boggs on June 17, 1950.[3] He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. in 1968 and subsequently attended Princeton University, from where he graduated with a B.S.E. in electrical engineering in 1972. He then joined the Xerox PARC research staff, where he met Robert Metcalfe while the latter was debugging an Interface Message Processor interface for the PARC systems group.[4][5] Since Boggs had considerable experience as an amateur radio operator WA3DBJ, he recognized similarities between Metcalfe's theories and radio broadcasting technologies and joined his project. According to The Economist, "the two would co-invent Ethernet, with Mr Metcalfe generating the ideas and Mr Boggs figuring out how to build the system."[2]

Throughout 1973, they built several Ethernet interfaces for the Xerox Alto pioneering personal computer. Xerox filed a patent application on March 31, 1975, naming Metcalfe, Boggs, Chuck Thacker, and Butler Lampson as inventors.[6] They published "Ethernet: Distributed Packet Switching for Local Computer Networks," Ethernet's seminal paper, in 1976, following 18 months of work.[4][7] It was reprinted in the Communications of the ACM in a special 25th anniversary issue.[8] He produced a slide from a Metcalfe sketch of Ethernet terminology for a session at the National Computer Conference in June 1976, which was widely reprinted.[9] The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History presently has the original prototype circuit.[10]

Boggs went to Stanford University for graduate study while working at Xerox, earning a master's degree in 1973 and a Ph.D. in 1982 in electrical engineering.[11] He wrote his dissertation on "Internet Broadcasting",[12] a concept which Steve Deering, also at Stanford, later expanded upon to IP multicasting.[13]

He was a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and received the IEEE Computer Society technical achievement award in 1988.[14][1] He was also one of the developers of the PARC Universal Packet protocol architecture.[15]

Boggs worked on the "Titan" project at the Digital Equipment Corporation Western Research Laboratory (DECWRL) after leaving Xerox.[16] He worked as a consultant in Silicon Valley and co-founded LAN Media Corporation (LMC) with Ron Crane.[17] In July 2000, LMC was acquired by SBE Incorporated and then SBE was acquired by Neonode in 2007.[18][19]

Boggs died of heart failure at Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California, on February 19, 2022, at the age of 71.[3]


  1. ^ a b "ACM Fellows Citation / David R Boggs". Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Case History: Out of the Ether". Technology Quarterly. The Economist. September 4, 2003. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Metz, Cade (February 28, 2022). "David Boggs, Co-Inventor of Ethernet, Dies at 71". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  4. ^ a b W. Sweet (June 1996). "Profile: Robert Metcalfe". IEEE Spectrum. 33 (6): 48–49, 52–55. doi:10.1109/6.499949.
  5. ^ Wende Vynorney Feller (2007). "Boggs, David R.". In Benjamin F. Shearer (ed.). Home front heroes: a biographical dictionary of Americans during wartime. Vol. 1. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 101–103. ISBN 978-0-313-33421-4.
  6. ^ U.S. Patent 4,063,220 "Multipoint data communication system (with collision detection)" Filing date March 31, 1975, issued December 13, 1977
  7. ^ Robert M. Metcalfe; David R. Boggs (July 1976). "Ethernet: Distributed Packet Switching for Local Computer Networks". Communications of the ACM. 19 (5): 395–405. doi:10.1145/360248.360253. S2CID 429216.
  8. ^ Robert M. Metcalfe; David R. Boggs (January 1983). "Ethernet: Distributed Packet Switching for Local Computer Networks". Communications of the ACM - Special 25th Anniversary Issue. 26 (1): 90–95. doi:10.1145/357980.358015. S2CID 30843194.
  9. ^ "The Ethernet Diagram". IEEE standard 802.3 web site. October 21, 2003. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  10. ^ "Ethernet Prototype Circuit Board". National Museum of American History collections object 1992.0566.01. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  11. ^ Stanford University (August 1, 1999). "Computer Science Department alumni newsletter". Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  12. ^ David R. Boggs (1982). Internet Broadcasting (phd). Stanford University. Ph.D. Thesis
  13. ^ Stephen E. Deering; David R. Cheriton (May 1990). "Multicast routing in datagram internetworks and extended LANs". ACM Transactions on Computer Systems. 8 (2): 85–110. doi:10.1145/78952.78953. S2CID 15404410.
  14. ^ IEEE Computer Society. "Past recipients for Technical Achievement Award". Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  15. ^ David R. Boggs; John F. Shoch; Edward A. Taft; Robert M. Metcalfe (April 1980). "Pup: An Internetwork Architecture". IEEE Transactions on Communications. 28 (4): 612–624. doi:10.1109/TCOM.1980.1094684. S2CID 62684407.
  16. ^ "David R. Boggs | IEEE Computer Society". April 11, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  17. ^ "Team: Board of Directors". Missing Link Electronics web site. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  18. ^ "SBE Inc. Acquires LAN Media Corporation". news release. San Ramon, California. July 14, 2000. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  19. ^ "SBE and Neonode Announce Execution of Merger Agreement". news release. San Ramon, California: Business Wire. January 22, 2007. Retrieved April 6, 2011.