Jonathan Bruce Postel (pronounced /pəˈstɛl/; August 6, 1943 – October 16, 1998) was an American computer scientist who made many significant contributions to the development of the Internet, particularly with respect to standards. He is known principally for being the Editor of the Request for Comment (RFC) document series, and for administering the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority until his death.
The Internet Society's Postel Award is named in his honor, as is the Postel Center at Information Sciences Institute. His obituary was written by Vint Cerf and published as RFC 2468 in remembrance of Postel and his work.
Postel attended UCLA where he earned his B.S. (1966) as well as his M.A. (1968) in Engineering. Attending UCLA, he completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1974. His PhD. thesis advisor was Dave Farber.
While at UCLA, he was involved in early work on the ARPANET; he later moved to the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California, where he spent the rest of his career.
Postel was the RFC Editor from 1969 until his death, and wrote and edited many important RFCs, including RFC 791, RFC 792 and RFC 793, which define the basic protocols of the Internet protocol suite, and RFC 2223, Instructions to RFC Authors. He wrote or co-authored more than 200 RFCs.
Postel served on the Internet Architecture Board and its predecessors for many years. He was the Director of the names and number assignment clearinghouse, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), from its inception. He was the first member of the Internet Society, and was on the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society. He was the original and long-time .us Top-Level Domain administrator. He also managed the Los Nettos Network.
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