Douglas Van Houweling, associate dean for research and innovation at the School of Information, visited Hong Kong Tuesday to be inducted to the 2014 Internet Hall of Fame.
The Internet Hall of Fame celebrates individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the creation and progression of the Internet. The Internet Society inducts 24 members selected across 13 different countries annually. Van Houweling was inducted as a Global Connector, a category that recognizes individuals who have helped expand the Internet on a global scale.
Van Houweling previously served as chairman of the board of MERIT, a Michigan statewide computing network. At the request of the National Science Foundation, he worked to rebuild its overloaded, dysfunctional network — NSFNET — that was designed to connect supercomputing sites around the country.
Information Dean Jeffrey MacKie-Mason said Van Houweling’s work aided the implementation and widespread use of the Internet.
“He was the visionary for putting together the organization and the actual national backbone so that the Internet could become public that everyone can use rather than a few number of researches,” MacKie-Mason said.
Prior to Van Houweling’s involvement in rebuilding NSFNET, the Internet was mainly used by universities for research purposes and by national defense agencies. Van Houweling worked with both MERIT and the University to brainstorm ways to make NSFNET more efficient while asking private corporations like IBM and MCI to build hardware and routers for the network.
Following Van Houweling’s efforts, the new NSFNET’s connectivity grew by 400 percent per year for seven years. By 1992, over 6,000 networks were connected and by 1994, networks were in place in 93 countries were connected.
By the time NSFNET shut down in 1995, many commercial companies started to pay for their connections and private corporations had launched their own networks.
Van Houweling previously served as the CEO of Internet2, a community of scholars dedicated to the advancement of technology. He served as a member of the National Academies Panel on the Impact of IT on the Future of the Research University and is a professor in the School of Information.
His other awards include the EDUCAUSE 2002 Excellence in Leadership Award, the Iowa State University John V. Atanasoff Discovery Award and the Indiana University Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion.
He received his undergraduate degree from Iowa State University and his Ph.D in government from Indiana University
Correction appended: A previous version of this article stated Van Houweling still serves as the CEO of Internet2. He left the position in 2010 and now works full-time at the University. The article also incorrectly stated that he authored the book “Higher Education in the Digital Age,” which is actually authored by William Bowen, the former president of Princeton University.