Interoperability of Heterogeneous Information Systems on the Internet

Robert Kahn
CEO of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives

2272nd Meeting Abstract
Friday, September 24, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Robert Kahn


It is well known that interoperability is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve for different types of legacy systems. Indeed, it is often not significantly easier for similar types of systems either.

Real-time Repository technology, deployed as part of an open-architecture, such as The Digital Object Architecture, offers significant advantages in achieving system interoperability in the future.

The nature of the system interoperability problem, its history, and possible steps forward will be discussed.

About the Author:

Robert Kahn is Chairman, CEO and President of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), which he founded in 1986 after a thirteen-year term at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). CNRI was created as a not-for-profit organization to provide leadership and funding for research and development of the National Information Infrastructure.

Early in his career, he worked on the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories and then became an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT.

He took a leave of absence from MIT to join Bolt Beranek and Newman, where he was responsible for the system design of the Arpanet, the first packet-switched network. In 1972 he moved to DARPA and subsequently became Director of DARPA's Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO). While Director of IPTO he initiated the United States government's billion dollar Strategic Computing Program, the largest computer research and development program ever undertaken by the federal government. He conceived the idea of open-architecture networking. He is a co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocols and was responsible for originating DARPA's Internet Program. Until recently, CNRI provided the Secretariat for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). He also coined the term National Information Infrastructure (NII) in the mid 1980s, which later became more widely known as the Information Super Highway.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a former member of its Computer Science and Technology Board, a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of AAAI, a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and a Fellow of the Computer History Museum. He is a former member of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, a former member of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine and the President's Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure.

He is a recipient of the 1997 National Medal of Technology, the 2001 Charles Stark Draper Prize from the National Academy of Engineering, and the 2004 A. M. Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery.

Dr. Kahn received the 2003 Digital ID World award for the Digital Object Architecture as a significant contribution (technology, policy or social) to the digital identity industry. In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in May 2006.

He received his B.E.E. from the City College of New York in 1960. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University in 1962 and 1964 respectively. He has received honorary degrees from Princeton University, University of Pavia, ETH Zurich, University of Maryland, George Mason University, the University of Central Florida and the University of Pisa, and an honorary fellowship from University College, London.

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