Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03

Ambient Connectivity
Taking Internet connectivity to the next stage

Bob Frankston
About the talk:

The Internet was designed as a solution to the pragmatic problem of exchanging messages between two end points without depending on any particular services in the middle. The result has been a phenomenon that has had a major effect on society. We've been able to focus on the problems we are trying to solve without being mired in the details of merely exchange the bits.

We are at a crossroads. Traditional telecom is all about monetizing the path. We've been able to ignore this because we've been able to find enough value in using existing paths as with dial-up modems and broadband connections.

If we are to take the next stage to ambient-connectivity where we can assume connectivity as basic infrastructure we need to move from viewing telecommunications as a service to funding a common infrastructure to facilitate connectivity.


There is no downloadable version of the slides for this talk available at this time.

About the speaker:

[Speaker Photo] Bob Frankston has been working with computers since 1963. He graduated MIT with undergraduate degrees in 1970 and continued in graduate school. He worked on the Multics projects as well as used the predecessor of the Internet beginning in 1969. He supported online services commercially from 1966. In 1979 he went from the mainframe world to the PC industry and co-founded Software Arts with Dan Bricklin where I implemented his concept of VisiCalc. VisiCalc was the "killer app" for the Apple II. From 1986 to 1990, Bob was with Lotus Development where he created Lotus Express (and started though it was before the Web). From 1993 to 1998, Bob was at Microsoft where he championed the concept of "IP Everywhere" thus making networking accessible to consumerss as "Home Networking".

These days Bob is on his own pursuing a number of projects among them, trying to explain the larger concept of ambient connectivity.

A number of Bob's articles, postings, and essays can be found on line at There is also a capsule bio available.

Contact information:

Bob Frankston