Van Jacobson (born 1950) is an American computer scientist, renowned for his work on TCP/IP network performance and scaling. He is one of the primary contributors to the TCP/IP protocol stack—the technological foundation of today’s Internet. Starting in 1985 he was an adjunct lecturer in Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley.
Early life and education
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. He did graduate work at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.
His work redesigning TCP/IP's flow control algorithms (Jacobson's algorithm) to better handle congestion is said to have saved the Internet from collapsing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 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) and the multimedia tools vic, vat, and wb.
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. He was Chief Scientist at Cisco Systems from 1998 to 2000. In 2000 he became Chief Scientist for Packet Design, Inc. and in 2002 for a spin-off, Precision I/O. 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. Jacobson discussed his ideas on Content-centric networking, the focus of his current work at PARC, in August 2006 as part of the Google Tech Talks.
Awards and memberships
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).
For his work, Jacobson received the 2001 ACM SIGCOMM Award for Lifetime Achievement "for contributions to protocol architecture and congestion control", the 2002 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004 for his "contributions to network protocols, including multicasting and the control of congestion."
- 2001 SIGCOMM Award for Lifetime Achievement to Van Jacobson "for contributions to protocol architecture and congestion control."
- "Van Jacobson Biography", IEEE Global History Network, accessed 31 March 2012
- "An Analysis of TCP Processing Overhead" (Biography), David D. Clark, et al., IEEE Communications Magazine, June 1989, p. 29
- Borsook, Paulina. "Profile: Van Jacobson keeps communications channels open", Network World, March 24, 1994, p. 51
- "Congestion avoidance and control", Van Jacobson, Proceedings of SIGCOMM ’88, Stanford, CA, Aug. 1988, ACM
- "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
- "Van Jacobson: 2002 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award Recipient", IEEE web site
- ""Building the Internet's MBone: LBL's Van Jacobson a Principal Architect", Jeffery Kahn, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 9 December 1994
- "vic - Video Conferencing Tool", web page at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- "vat - LBL Audio Conferencing Tool", web page at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- "wb - LBNL Whiteboard Tool", web page at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- "LBNL's Network Research Group", Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, August 2009
- Van Jacobson: Past and Current Positions in "TCP/IP pioneer's past is prologue", Loring Wirbel, EE Times, March 7, 2005
- Packet Design, website
- "Speeding up Networking", Van Jacobson and Bob Felderman, Linux.conf.au 2006, Dunedin, NZ
- "Content-centric networking", PARC A Xerox Company
- "A New Way to look at Networking", Van Jacobson, Google Tech Talk, 30 August 2006, YouTube Video
- " Lab's connection to the MBone wins '95 R&D 100 Award", Bruce Davies, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
- "Mr. Van Jacobson", Members Directory, National Academy of Engineering
- 2012 Inductees, Internet Hall of Fame website. Last accessed April 24, 2012
- Van Jacobson's bio page at PARC[dead link]
- Van's bio at Packet Design, Inc.
- Content-Centric Networking (CCN) research program, website hosted by PARC, a Xerox company
- "Van Jacobson Denies Averting Internet Meltdown in 1980s", Cade Metz, Wired, 25 May 2012