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Van Jacobson

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Van Jacobson
Known forwork on TCP/IP
AwardsIEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science

Van Jacobson is an American computer scientist, renowned for his work on TCP/IP network performance and scaling.[1] He is one of the primary contributors to the TCP/IP protocol stack—the technological foundation of today’s Internet.[2] Since 2013, Jacobson is an adjunct professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) working on Named Data Networking.

Early life and education[edit]

Jacobson studied Modern Poetry, Physics, and Mathematics and received an M.S. in physics and a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Arizona.[3] He did graduate work at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.[4]


His work redesigning TCP/IP's congestion control algorithms (Jacobson's algorithm)[5][6] to better handle congestion is said to have saved the Internet from collapsing in the late 1980s and early 1990s.[7] He is also known for the TCP/IP Header Compression protocol described in RFC 1144: Compressing TCP/IP Headers for Low-Speed Serial Links, popularly known as Van Jacobson TCP/IP Header Compression.

He is the co-author of several widely used network diagnostic tools, including traceroute, tcpdump, and pathchar. He was a leader in the development of the multicast backbone (MBone)[8] and the multimedia tools vic,[9] vat,[10] and wb.[11]

Jacobson worked at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory from 1974 to 1998 as a Research scientist in the Real-time Controls Group and later group leader for the Network Research Group.[12] He was Chief Scientist at Cisco Systems from 1998 to 2000.[13] In 2000 he became Chief Scientist for Packet Design, Inc. and in 2002 for a spin-off, Precision I/O.[14] He joined PARC as a research fellow in August 2006.

In January 2006 at Linux.conf.au, Jacobson presented another idea about network performance improvement, which has since been referred to as network channels.[15] Jacobson discussed his ideas on Named data networking (NDN), the focus of his work at PARC, in August 2006 as part of the Google Tech Talks.[16][17] Van Jacobson is now working with the NDN Consortium funded by the National Science Foundation to explore and create the future of the internet.

Awards and memberships[edit]

Van Jacobson together with his colleague at LBL, Steven McCanne, won R&D Magazine's 1995 R&D 100 Award for development of a software toolpack that enables multiparty audio and visual conferencing via the MBone (Multicast Backbone).[18]

For his work, Jacobson received the 2001 ACM SIGCOMM Award for Lifetime Achievement "for contributions to protocol architecture and congestion control",[1] the 2002 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award,[7] and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004 for his "contributions to network protocols, including multicasting and the control of congestion."[19]

In 2012, Jacobson was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 2001 SIGCOMM Award for Lifetime Achievement to Van Jacobson "for contributions to protocol architecture and congestion control."
  2. ^ "Van Jacobson Biography", IEEE Global History Network, accessed 31 March 2012
  3. ^ "An Analysis of TCP Processing Overhead" (Biography), David D. Clark, et al., IEEE Communications Magazine, June 1989, p. 29
  4. ^ Borsook, Paulina. "Profile: Van Jacobson keeps communications channels open", Network World, March 24, 1994, p. 51
  5. ^ "Congestion avoidance and control", Van Jacobson, Proceedings of SIGCOMM ’88, Stanford, CA, Aug. 1988, ACM
  6. ^ "Congestion avoidance and control", Van Jacobson, ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review - Special twenty-fifth anniversary issue, Highlights from 25 years of the Computer Communication Review, Volume 25 Issue 1, Jan. 1995, pp.157-187
  7. ^ a b "Van Jacobson: 2002 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award Recipient", IEEE web site
  8. ^ ""Building the Internet's MBone: LBL's Van Jacobson a Principal Architect", Jeffery Kahn, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 9 December 1994
  9. ^ "vic - Video Conferencing Tool", web page at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  10. ^ "vat - LBL Audio Conferencing Tool", web page at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  11. ^ "wb - LBNL Whiteboard Tool", web page at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  12. ^ "LBNL's Network Research Group", Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, August 2009
  13. ^ Van Jacobson: Past and Current Positions in "TCP/IP pioneer's past is prologue", Loring Wirbel, EE Times, March 7, 2005
  14. ^ Packet Design, website
  15. ^ "Speeding up Networking", Van Jacobson and Bob Felderman, Linux.conf.au 2006, Dunedin, NZ
  16. ^ "Content-centric networking", PARC A Xerox Company
  17. ^ "A New Way to look at Networking", Van Jacobson, Google Tech Talk, 30 August 2006, YouTube Video
  18. ^ " Lab's connection to the MBone wins '95 R&D 100 Award", Bruce Davies, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
  19. ^ "Mr. Van Jacobson", Members Directory, National Academy of Engineering
  20. ^ 2012 Inductees, Internet Hall of Fame website. Last accessed April 24, 2012

External links[edit]