Fourth Dutch person joins roll of celebrated internet pioneers
Monday evening 18 September 2017 in Los Angeles, the Internet Society (ISOC) announced that Jaap Akkerhuis of NLnet Labs was to be admitted to the Internet Hall of Fame. Akkerhuis began his career at the Mathematical Centre, which is now CWI. Membership is an honour given to people who have made an exceptional contribution to the development and advancement of the global internet. Other internet pioneers on the roll include Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee. The announcement increases the Hall of Fame's membership to 103, of whom four are Dutch.
Connecting the technical community worldwide
Jaap Akkerhuis's admission to the Internet Hall of Fame is in recognition of the tireless work he has done on the internet's development since the eighties. When the internet was in its infancy, he was constantly travelling between research centres, internet service providers (ISPs) and registries across Europe and the United States. Akkerhuis is particularly famous for his level-headed approach and his many technical and organisational contributions down the years. ISOC consequently regards him as an innovator of the technical community. In his current role at NLnet Labs, Akkerhuis remains extremely active in organisations such as ICANN, IETF, RIPE, ISOC and CENTR. He has been a member of ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee since its creation, for example.
Senior Research Engineer at NLnet Labs
Since 2004, Akkerhuis has been Senior Research Engineer at NLnet Labs, an independent, non-profit R&D foundation. The organisation is known around the world for the software it develops for the Domain Name System (DNS) – a core component of the internet, which translates domain names into the numeric IP addresses used by computers. NLnet Labs' software is widely used by ISPs and other domain name administrators. The organisation therefore makes a major contribution to the security and stability of the internet as a global communication infrastructure.
Involvement with CWI and SIDN
Akkerhuis began his career in 1977 at the Mathematical Centre - now Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) - in Amsterdam, which later developed into a major hub of European computer networks. After working in the United States for about eight years, he joined NLnet, the first Dutch ISP, in 1995. From 1999 to 2004, Akkerhuis was at SIDN, the organisation created in 1996 by Piet Beertema (CWI), Boudewijn Nederkoorn (SURFnet) and Ted Lindgreen (NLnet) to manage the .nl domain. During that period, the number of .nl domain names grew to more than a million and SIDN rose to national and international prominence.
Fourth Dutch person in the Internet Hall of Fame
The Internet Hall of Fame was established in 2012 to honour the visionaries, leaders and geniuses who have made outstanding contributions to the development and advancement of the global internet. Anyone anywhere in the world can nominate a person for membership. ISOC considers all incoming nominations against a prescribed set of requirements and assessment criteria. The final decision on admission is made by the Internet Hall of Fame Advisory Board and a select group of existing members. Jaap Akkerhuis is the fourth Dutch person added to the illustrious list of members. The first two were Kees Neggers (former CEO of SURFnet) and Teus Hagen (former Chair of NLnet), admitted to the Hall of Fame in 2013. The following year, they were joined by Erik Huizer, CTO at SURFnet.
Below the press release by NLnet (version of 19 September 2017, 9.00h AM) with more background information:
European pioneer Jaap Akkerhuis inducted in Internet Hall of Fame
Research engineer from NLnet Labs celebrated as "global innovator"
Amsterdam/Los Angeles, 19 september 2017
Last night in Los Angeles internet pioneer Jaap Akkerhuis was honored by his international peers through induction into the Internet Hall of Fame. Akkerhuis (The Netherlands, 1951) played - without seeking the spotlights - an important role in the introduction of the internet in Europe. He is the only one from Europe out of six new inductees in the category "Global Innovators".
The ceremony took place at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), where almost half a century ago the first message was sent across the predecessor to the internet, the ARPANET.
Jaap Akkerhuis is still actively contributing to todays internet, currently as Research Engineer at the not-for-profit research lab NLnet Labs, as well as in a number of other roles such as ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee.
Akkerhuis started his career in 1977 at the Computer Laboratory of the Mathematical Centre (current name: Centrum voor Wiskunde & Informatica), which in the years that followed established itself as the center of European computer networks. He was part of the small team led by Teus Hagen which was responsible for most actual networking activities. Later, this team was expanded by Piet Beertema, Jim McKie and Daniel Karrenberg. In addition to his regular scientific tasks, Akkerhuis spent countless nights and weekends in setting up and debugging connections and first international gateways - for countries all the way up to Australia, via Japan and South Korea. Well before the first official public connection to the internet outside of the USA was made at CWI, he personally convinced Jon Postel to allocate him a range of IP-addresses to avoid future collisions.
While many of the other European pioneers stayed in Europe, Akkerhuis went back and forth between scientific institutes, research labs, internet service providers and registries in Europe and across the USA - thereby playing a key role as a global connector in the technical community. Akkerhuis is appreciated by many for his no-nonsense approach and lack of ego. He made a flood of technical and organisational contributions over the years, for instance in inventing an improvised modem that used a repurposed plotter (which was originally used to make technical drawing) to instead rotate the dial of vintage pre-DTMF phones - effectively created an automatic modem which could be used to set up connections without manual intervention.
In 1987 Akkerhuis moved to the US to join the Information Technology Centre at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA), followed by another two years at Mt. Xinu (Berkeley, CA.) and three years at Bell Laboratories (Murray Hill, NJ). In 1995 he returned to the Netherlands to join NLnet, the first Dutch ISP. In 1999 he joined the newly established Dutch ccTLD (SIDN). Since 2004 he has been working as Research Engineer at NLnet Labs, an independent not-for-profit research and development lab renowned for its work on a.o. DNSSEC and BGP Security.
Throughout his career Akkerhuis spent a truly generous amount of time sharing his knowledge with others, in organisations such as EUUG, USENIX, IETF, Internet Society, RIPE, ICANN and CENTR. At USENIX he was on both on the Editorial Advisory Board and production editor of Computing Systems. He served as a co-chair for the IETF ProvReg Working Group, and still is co-chair of the RIPE DNS working group. He was member of the Permanent Stakeholders Group of ENISA and has acted as an occasional instructor for ISOC courses for TLD registries. He has served in ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee since its inception. He is a member of the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency, which maintains the authoritative list of country codes. He remains an active ports maintainer in FreeBSD. Outside of the internet world, Jaap Akkerhuis is a member of the Stanford Solar Center and SuperSID Software Committee.
The induction of Akkerhuis now brings the total number of Netherlands' internet pioneers in the Internet Hall of Fame to five. Previously, this honour had been bestowed upon his former colleagues at CWI and NLnet Daniel Karrenberg en Teus Hagen, together with SURFnet's Kees Neggers and Erik Huizer (a former chairman of the Board of Supervisors of NLnet). The Internet Hall of Fame is an initiative of Internet Society, the assocation for internet professionals with a global membership of nearly 100.000 members. In total there have been 91 men and women included in the honorary gallery since the launch in 2011.
- The page about Jaap Akkerhuis in the Internet Hall of Fame:
- Photo Jaap Akkerhuis (credits Olaf Kolkman, under Creative Commons CC-BY [ download ]
- Photo Jaap Akkerhuis (credits Frank Groeiliken, under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA [ download ]
- Interview (in Dutch) with Jaap Akkerhuis in the book "25 Jaar internet in Nederland" ("25 Years of Internet in The Netherlands") :
Photo Jaap Akkerhuis (credits Frank Groeiliken, under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA)