Donald Watts Davies
|Died||28 May 2000 75)(aged|
|Alma mater||Imperial College|
|Known for||Packet switching|
Distinguished Fellow, BCS
|Institutions||National Physical Laboratory|
Donald Watts Davies, CBE , FRS (7 June 1924 – 28 May 2000) was a Welsh computer scientist who was employed at the UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL). In 1965 he developed the concept of packet switching, which is today the dominant basis for data communications in computer networks worldwide, and implemented it in the NPL network. This was independent of the work of Paul Baran in the United States who had a similar idea in the early 1960s. The ARPANET project, a precursor to the Internet, credited Davies for his influence.
Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science'.
The Welsh are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Wales, Welsh culture, Welsh history and the Welsh language. Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living in Wales are British citizens.
A computer scientist is a person who has acquired the knowledge of computer science, the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their application.
Davies was born in Treorchy in the Rhondda Valley, Wales. His father, a clerk at a coalmine, died a few months later, and his mother took Donald and his twin sister back to her home town of Portsmouth, where he went to school.He attended the Southern Grammar School for Boys.
Treorchy is a village and community in Wales. Once a town, it retains the characteristics of a town. Situated in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf in the Rhondda Fawr valley. Treorchy is also one of the 16 communities of the Rhondda. It includes the villages of Cwmparc and Ynyswen.
Rhondda, or the Rhondda Valley, is a former coal mining area in South Wales, previously in Glamorgan, and now a local government district, consisting of 16 communities built around the River Rhondda. The Rhondda is actually two valleys—the larger Rhondda Fawr valley and the smaller Rhondda Fach valley. The singular term 'Rhondda Valley' and the plural 'Rhondda Valleys' are both commonly used. In 2001, the Rhondda constituency of the National Assembly for Wales had a population of 72,443; while the National Office of Statistics described the Rhondda urban area as having a population of 59,602. Rhondda is part of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough and is part of the South Wales Valleys.
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.
He received a BSc degree in physics (1943) at Imperial College London, and then joined the war effort working as an assistant to Klaus Fuchson the nuclear weapons Tube Alloys project at Birmingham University. He then returned to Imperial taking a first class degree in mathematics (1947); he was also awarded the Lubbock memorial Prize as the outstanding mathematician of his year.
Imperial College London is a public research university located in London. In 1851, Prince Albert built his vision of an area for culture, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Colleges, Royal Albert Hall, and the Imperial Institute. In 1907, Imperial College was established by royal charter, merging the Royal College of Science, Royal School of Mines, and City and Guilds of London Institute. In 1988, the Imperial College School of Medicine was formed by combining with St Mary's Hospital Medical School. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Imperial College Business School.
Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs was a German theoretical physicist and atomic spy who supplied information from the American, British, and Canadian Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union during and shortly after World War II. While at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fuchs was responsible for many significant theoretical calculations relating to the first nuclear weapons and, later, early models of the hydrogen bomb. After his conviction in 1950, he served nine years in prison in the United Kingdom and then moved to East Germany where he resumed his career as a physicist and scientific leader.
Tube Alloys was the code name of the research and development programme authorised by the United Kingdom, with participation from Canada, to develop nuclear weapons during the Second World War. Starting before the Manhattan Project in the United States, the British efforts were kept classified, and as such had to be referred to by code even within the highest circles of government.
In 1955, he married Diane Burton; they had a daughter and two sons.
From 1947, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) where Alan Turing was designing the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) computer. It is said that Davies spotted mistakes in Turing's seminal 1936 paper On Computable Numbers, much to Turing's annoyance. These were perhaps some of the first "programming" bugs in existence, even if they were for a theoretical computer, the universal Turing machine. The ACE project was overambitious and floundered, leading to Turing's departure.Davies took over the project and concentrated on delivering the less ambitious Pilot ACE computer, which first worked in May 1950. A commercial spin-off, DEUCE was manufactured by English Electric Computers and became one of the best-selling machines of the 1950s.
Alan Mathison Turing was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist. Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Despite these accomplishments, he was not fully recognised in his home country during his lifetime, due to his homosexuality, and because much of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act.
The Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) was a British early electronic stored-program computer designed by Alan Turing.
A software bug is an error, flaw, failure or fault in a computer program or system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways. The process of finding and fixing bugs is termed "debugging" and often uses formal techniques or tools to pinpoint bugs, and since the 1950s, some computer systems have been designed to also deter, detect or auto-correct various computer bugs during operations.
Davies also worked on applications of traffic simulation and machine translation. In the early 1960s, he worked on government technology initiatives designed to stimulate the British computer industry.
In 1965, Davies developed the idea of packet switching, dividing computer messages into packets that are routed independently across a network, possibly via differing routes, and are reassembled at the destination. Unbeknown to him, Paul Baran of the RAND Corporation in the United States was also working on a similar concept; when Baran became aware of Davies's work he acknowledged that they both had equally discovered the concept.
Packet switching is a method of grouping data that is transmitted over a digital network into packets. Packets are made of a header and a payload. Data in the header are used by networking hardware to direct the packet to its destination where the payload is extracted and used by application software. Packet switching is the primary basis for data communications in computer networks worldwide.
Paul Baran was a Polish-born Jewish American engineer who was a pioneer in the development of computer networks. He was one of the two independent inventors of packet switching, which is today the dominant basis for data communications in computer networks worldwide, and went on to start several companies and develop other technologies that are an essential part of modern digital communication.
RAND Corporation is an American nonprofit global policy think tank created in 1948 by Douglas Aircraft Company to offer research and analysis to the United States Armed Forces. It is financed by the U.S. government and private endowment, corporations, universities and private individuals. The company has grown to assist other governments, international organizations, private companies and foundations, with a host of defense and non-defense issues, including healthcare. RAND aims for interdisciplinary and quantitative problem solving by translating theoretical concepts from formal economics and the physical sciences into novel applications in other areas, using applied science and operations research.
Davies used the word "packets" after consulting with a linguist because it was capable of being translated into languages other than English without compromise.Davies' key insight came in the realisation that computer network traffic was inherently "bursty" with periods of silence, compared with relatively constant telephone traffic. He designed and proposed a national data network based on packet switching in his 1966 Proposal for the Development of a National Communications Service for On-line Data Processing.
In 1966 he returned to the NPL at Teddington just outside London, where he headed and transformed its computing activity. He became interested in data communications following a visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he saw that a significant problem with the new time-sharing computer systems was the cost of keeping a phone connection open for each user.Davies was the first to describe the concept of an "Interface computer", today known as a router.
His work on packet switching, presented by his colleague Roger Scantlebury, initially caught the attention of the developers of ARPANET, a US defence network, at a conference in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in October 1967.In Scantlebury's report following the conference, he noted "It would appear that the ideas in the NPL paper at the moment are more advanced than any proposed in the USA". Larry Roberts of the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the United States applied Davies' concepts of packet switching in the late 1960s for the ARPANET, which went on to become a predecessor to the Internet.
Davies first presented his own ideas on packet switching at a conference in Edinburgh on 5 August 1968.At NPL Davies helped build a packet-switched network (Mark I NPL network ). It was replaced with the Mark II in 1973, and remained in operation until 1986, influencing other research in the UK and Europe.
Baran was happy to acknowledge that Davies had come up with the same idea as him independently. In an e-mail to Davies he wrote
You and I share a common view of what packet switching is all about, since you and I independently came up with the same ingredients.
Leonard Kleinrock, a contemporary working on analysing message flow using queueing theory, developed a theoretical basis for the operation of message switching networks in his PhD thesis during 1961-2, published as a book in 1964.However, Kleinrock's later claim to have developed the theoretical basis of packet switching networks is disputed by some, including Robert Taylor, Baran and Davies. The U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame, which recognizes inventors who hold a U.S. patent of highly significant technology, records Donald Davies and Paul Baran as the inventors of digital packet switching.
Davies relinquished his management responsibilities in 1979 to return to research. He became particularly interested in computer network security. He retired from NPL in 1984, becoming a leading consultant on data security to the banking industry.Together with David O. Clayden, they designed the Message Authenticator Algorithm (MAA), an early Message Authentication Code that was adopted as international standard ISO 8731-2 in 1987. In 1987, he became a visiting professor at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College.
Davies was appointed a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society in 1975, a CBE in 1983 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1987. In 2007, Davies was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame,and in 2012 he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society. A blue plaque commemorating Davies was unveiled in Treorchy in July 2013.
Davies was survived by his wife Diane, a daughter and two sons.
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The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the national measurement standards laboratory for the United Kingdom, based at Bushy Park in Teddington, London, England. It comes under the management of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
BBN Technologies is an American research and development company, based next to Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was an early packet-switching network and the first network to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet. The ARPANET was initially founded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense.
Robert Elliot Kahn is an American electrical engineer, who, along with Vint Cerf, first proposed the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), the fundamental communication protocols at the heart of the Internet.
Leonard Kleinrock is an American computer scientist. A professor at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, he made several important contributions to the field of computer networking, in particular to the theoretical foundations of computer networking. He played an influential role in the development of the ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet, at UCLA.
Wesley Allison Clark was an American physicist who is credited for designing the first modern personal computer. He was also a computer designer and the main participant, along with Charles Molnar, in the creation of the LINC computer, which was the first minicomputer and shares with a number of other computers the claim to be the inspiration for the personal computer.
The CYCLADES computer network was a French research network created in the early 1970s. It was one of the pioneering networks experimenting with the concept of packet switching, and was developed to explore alternatives to the ARPANET design. The network supported general local network research.
The Interface Message Processor (IMP) was the packet switching node used to interconnect participant networks to the ARPANET from the late 1960s to 1989. It was the first generation of gateways, which are known today as routers. An IMP was a ruggedized Honeywell DDP-516 minicomputer with special-purpose interfaces and software. In later years the IMPs were made from the non-ruggedized Honeywell 316 which could handle two-thirds of the communication traffic at approximately one-half the cost. An IMP requires the connection to a host computer via a special bit-serial interface, defined in BBN Report 1822. The IMP software and the ARPA network communications protocol running on the IMPs was discussed in, the first of a series of standardization documents published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
Lawrence Gilman Roberts was an American engineer who received the Draper Prize in 2001 "for the development of the Internet", and the Principe de Asturias Award in 2002.
A computer network is a digital telecommunications network which allows nodes to share resources. In computer networks, computing devices exchange data with each other using connections between nodes. These data links are established over cable media such as wires or optic cables, or wireless media such as Wi-Fi.
Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing is a short documentary film from 1972, produced by Steven King and directed/edited by Peter Chvany, about ARPANET, an early packet switching network and the first network to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to telecommunication:
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Internet.
The NPL Network or NPL Data Communications Network was a local area computer network operated by a team from the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington outside London that pioneered the concept of packet switching. Following a pilot experiment during 1967, elements of the first version of the network, Mark I, became operational during 1969 then fully operational in 1970, and the Mark II version operated from 1973 until 1986. The NPL network, followed by the wide area ARPANET in the United States, were the first two computer networks that implemented packet switching, and were interconnected in the early 1970s. The NPL network was designed and directed by Donald Davies.
Then in June 1966, Davies wrote a second internal paper, "Proposal for a Digital Communication Network" In which he coined the word packet,- a small sub part of the message the user wants to send, and also introduced the concept of an "Interface computer" to sit between the user equipment and the packet network.
This led to an outcry among many of the other Internet pioneers, who publicly attacked Kleinrock and said that his brief mention of breaking messages into smaller pieces did not come close to being a proposal for packet switching
Authors who have interviewed dozens of Arpanet pioneers know very well that the Kleinrock-Roberts claims are not believed.
The Internet is really the work of a thousand people," Mr. Baran said. "And of all the stories about what different people have done, all the pieces fit together. It's just this one little case that seems to be an aberration.
I can find no evidence that he understood the principles of packet switching.