Paul Mockapetris

Inventor of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS)

Paul Mockapetris is an American computer scientist and Internet pioneer who invented the Domain Name System (DNS). He is currently a director of Farsight Security and was previously the Chief Scientist and Chairman of the Board at Nominum, Inc. (acquired by Akamai).

Paul created DNS in the 1980s at USC’s Information Sciences Institute, where he was later the Director of ISI’s High Performance Computing and Communications Division. He has made significant contributions to the computing research community and to the evolution of the Internet. His earliest work at UC Irvine on distributed systems and LAN technology preceded the commercial Ethernet and Token Ring designs. He worked on the the design and initial implementation of the SMTP protocol for email as part of the birth of the Internet in 1983 before taking on the challenge of designing DNS, and then operated the original “root servers” for all Internet names.

After the formal creation of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 1986, DNS became one of the original Internet Standards. The IETF continues to be the focus of new applications and extensions to DNS. Paul has been associated with the IETF since its creation, chaired several DNS and non-DNS working groups, and was Chair of the IETF from 1994 to 1996. In the 1990s Paul was program manager for networking at ARPA, supervising efforts such as gigabit and optical networking. From 1995 on, Paul held leadership roles at several Silicon Valley networking startups, including @Home, (now OpenWave), Fiberlane (now Cisco), and Siara (now Redback Networks) before helping to guide DNS and IP addressing to the next stage while at Nominum.

Paul has dual B.S. degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from MIT, and a Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine.