The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - 29

Welcome New Eminent Members

program. He designed the first coding system for
deep space communication. It was at Codex that Dr.
Forney re-designed the current modem with doubleside band technology setting an internal standard
with the first of its kind 9600 bit-per-second modem.
During a sabbatical year at Stanford University, he
integrated the Viterbi Algorithm as an optimum
sequence decoder. The introduction of the trellis
diagram that visualized the technique was published
in the Proceedings of the IEEE in 1973 and is now

Dr. Robert Metcalfe, Beta Theta Chapter.

Welcome New Eminent Members

used throughout technology in modems, wireless
communications, speech recognition and more.
Dr. Robert Metcalfe was inducted into HKN's Beta
Theta Chapter at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, where he earned a Bachelor of Science
degree in Electrical Engineering and Industrial
Management. He received his Master's in Applied
Mathematics from Harvard. While earning his PhD
in Computer Science from Harvard, he worked
on Project MAC at MIT. His efforts would detail
packet switching in the ARPANET. Then while
working at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center-PARC,
Dr. Metcalfe would solve for challenges presented
in the ALOHA network. It was at PARC in 1973
that Dr. Metcalfe invented the Ethernet, enabling
computers to connect and transfer data at megabits
per second. He then oversaw the development of
microprocessor and communications developments
at Xerox, which resulted in the Xerox Star workstation,
bringing technologies that allow for personal
computers and, ultimately an international computer
industry standard, where the Ethernet is by far
the most widely installed LAN. He founded 3Com
Corporation, a digital electronics manufacturing
company, providing controllers and switches, routers,
IP voice systems and more. The company would
create technologies with nearly 1,500 US patents.

Dr. Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet and the 143rd HKN member to be elevated to Eminent
Member, addressed the audience gathered for the IEEE Educational Activities Board awards ceremony
held in Boston, Massachusett on 23 November 2019. Following are his remarks.

Comments on Elevation to Eminent Member
of IEEE Eta Kappa Nu (HKN)
Bob Metcalfe, #143

Thank you to HKN and IEEE for this honor. I invented Ethernet. I've been saying
this for 46 years, and hope to continue saying it for 46 more years.
As inventor of Ethernet, I qualify to be a
member of the Society of PC Port Inventors
(SPPI). Among our venerable members are
the inventors of RS-232, the printer parallel
port, Ethernet RJ-45, VGA, HDMI, and USB.
We meet quarterly to sustain excellence and
ethics in PC port development standards. Our
last quarterly meeting was very sad. One of
our beloved inventors had died. The inventor
of the USB port died the week before our last
meeting. Turned out he had no family. And so
our meeting became his funeral. The attending
inventors became pallbearers. We carried the
USB inventor's coffin across the street to his
waiting grave. As we began to lower his coffin
into the grave, it jammed. And so we had to
pull the coffin back out of the grave, rotate it
180 degrees, and lower it back into its final
resting place.
One of the cool things about being
an engineer is having jokes that hardly
anybody understands.
I encourage youngsters to be engineers. I give
them three (my favorite number) reasons.
First, it's fun, like solving puzzles. Engineering
offers the joy of mastery.
Second, being an engineer pays well-very few
waiters or Uber drivers are engineers.

THE BRIDGE

And third, engineering enables innovation,
creating a virtuous circle between freedom
and prosperity. Engineers solve the world's
problems. We need more engineers.
When I was admitted to MIT's Beta Theta
Chapter of Eta Kappa Nu in May 1968, the
recognition made me think I had something
new to live up to. Recognition drives aspiration,
I found.
And now, 50 some years later, I am being
recognized again by HKN. And now I feel
that I must work harder to live up to being an
Eminent Member. The way I will do this is by
being a better role model. I suppose this is why
IEEE-HKN gives such recognitions. Recognition
drives aspiration.
I know a little about being a good role model.
When a not-so-good role model gives a talk,
his purpose is to convince the audience how
special, how smart the role model is. This
does not drive aspiration. The audience is left
feeling how impossible it would be to match
the accomplishments of such a special person.
A better role model reveals how ordinary
he is and how his accomplishments can be
explained in a series of simple steps that
anyone can take. I try to leave my audiences
thinking that if this schlemiel can invent
Ethernet and grow a multi-billion-dollar startup,
then so can you.

HKN.ORG

29


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The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020

Contents
The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - Cover1
The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - Cover2
The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - Contents
The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - 4
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The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - 7
The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - 8
The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - 9
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The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - 29
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The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - Cover3
The Bridge - Issue 1, 2020 - Cover4
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