Bob Metcalfe Receives Japan’s C&C Prize for Development of Ethernet

Bob Metcalfe, Internet pioneer and now professor of innovation at The University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering, has been recognized with an international award for his contributions to the development of the Internet.

Metcalfe, an icon of entrepreneurial engineering and inventor of today's local-area networking standard, Ethernet, was recognized Nov. 28 in Tokyo with the C&C Prize. The award, established in 1985, is the highest honor given by the NEC C&C Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Japan and established to foster growth in the electronics industry by supporting research and development and pioneering work related to the integration of computers and communications technologies. The C&C Prize carries with it a cash award of 10 million yen (about $130,000).

Dr. Bob Metcalfe

Dr. Bob Metcalfe

Metcalfe was recognized along with Dr. Norman Abramson, an engineer, computer scientist and professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii who developed ALHOAnet — the first public demonstration of a wireless packet data network.

"It is a great honor to be sharing the C&C Prize with Norm Abramson, on whose shoulders we stood in developing Ethernet," said Metcalfe, Fellow of the Clint W. Murchison, Sr. Chair of Free Enterprise.

Inspired by ALHOAnet, Metcalfe developed Ethernet while working in the 1970s at the Computer Science Laboratory of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. For leading in the invention, standardization and commercialization of Ethernet, Metcalfe received the United States National Medal of Technology in 2005.

"Bob Metcalfe's pioneering contributions have dramatically transformed our lives," said Cockrell School of Engineering Dean Gregory L. Fenves. "At The University of Texas, Bob is bringing entrepreneurial engineering education to our students. Because of his expertise and mentorship, our students are learning how to move a new technology from concept to a business."

Metcalfe joined the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin in January 2011 after 10 years as a venture capitalist, serving as general partner of Polaris Venture Partners. Prior to that, Metcalfe was publisher of InfoWorld and wrote an Internet column with half a million weekly readers. In 1979, he founded and subsequently grew the billion-dollar networking company 3Com Corp., which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2010.

At the university, Metcalfe is combining his expertise as an inventor, engineer and entrepreneur to teach entrepreneurship.

Metcalfe, along with instructors from the McCombs School of Business and the Computer Science Department in the College of Natural Sciences, is leading 1 Semester Startup, a course supporting undergraduates with startups.

The course provides students with the resources, direction and inspiration needed to start their own companies and connects them with technology industry legends. Since the class debuted this fall, Michael Dell of Dell Inc. and Frank Moss, former CEO of Tivoli and director of the MIT Media Lab, have spoken to students about startups.

In announcing Metcalfe's selection to receive the C&C Prize, the NEC C&C Foundation said "Ethernet is the most widely used LAN standard and has had immense impact on information technology since its initial appearance in the 1980s."

A full list of this year's NEC C&C Foundation award winners is available.