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Jaap Akkerhuis

Jaap Akkerhuis

Credits Frank Groeiliken, under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Jaap Akkerhuis (1951) is a scientist, researcher and engineer that has been instrumental in the development of the Internet since the early eighties. In 2017 he was inducted in the Internet Hall of Fame as a "Global Innovator". He started his career in 1979 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 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). In 2004 he became a 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.

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