Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
The Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) on Monday announced the establishment of the 3Com Founders Chair, made possible by a gift of $2 million from the founders and friends of 3Com Corp. The announcement was made as part of the LCS 35th anniversary celebration.
The first holder of the 3Com Founders Chair will be LCS Principal Research Scientist Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium. That organization, headquartered at LCS, aims to continue developing the capabilities and usefulness of the Web toward its full potential.
The 3Com Founders Chair is a first for MIT in that its primary purpose is to support distinguished researchers. Traditionally, such chairs have been designated exclusively for professors in MIT's academic departments.
The chair is being established to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the founding of 3Com. The purpose of the chair is to support research and teaching in computer communication compatibility (the acronym for 3Com) in computer networking technologies such as Ethernet, the Internet and the World Wide Web, as well as research and teaching in the development, standardization and commercialization of these technologies.
The establishment of the new chair was organized by Dr. Robert M. Metcalfe (SB 1968), vice president for technology at International Data Group.
"What a grand occasion to gather these old friends and compatriots, to celebrate the founding and success of 3Com these last 20 years, and to give back to MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, from which 3Com sprung," he said. "We recommend to successful company founders everywhere that they take on similar projects for their alma maters. And we are delighted and honored to have Tim Berners-Lee asthe inaugural holder of our chair."
Contributors to the chair include founders of 3Com, friends and LCS/MIT alumni. They are Mr. Metcalfe, Gregory L. Shaw (SB 1975), Ronald C. Crane (SB 1972), Larry Birenbaum (SB 1969), John Shoch, J. P. "Pitts" Jarvis III (SB 1969), Kenneth P. Morse (SB 1968), L. William Krause, David E. Burmaster (SB 1969, PhD) and 3Com Corp., thanks to CEO Eric Benhamou.
Commenting on the significance of the gift, President Charles M. Vest said, "This chair, in its name and purpose, celebrates the contribution that university research makes to the nation's economy and technological advancement. Bob Metcalfe's invention of the Ethernet, and 3Com's entrepreneurial success in translating it into a ubiquitous product, demonstrate the important role of academic laboratories like LCS."
Professor Michael L. Dertouzos, director of LCS, commented, "The 3Com Founders Chair, rooted in the spectacular achievements of Bob Metcalfe and our celebrated alumni, will now fuel the future innovations of the lab's distinguished researchers like Tim Berners-Lee. It highlights and celebrates the laboratory's most precious resource -- our people."
A version of this article appeared in the April 14, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 26).