Paul Mockapetris expanded the Internet beyond its academic origins by inventing the Domain Name System (DNS) in 1983. At USC’s Information Sciences Institute, Mockapetris recognized the problems with the early Internet (then ARPAnet)’s system of holding name to address translations in a single table on a single host (HOSTS.TXT). Instead, he proposed a distributed and dynamic naming system, essentially the DNS of today.
Rather than simply looking up host names, DNS created easily identifiable names for IP addresses, making the Internet far more accessible for everyday use. After the formal creation of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 1986, DNS became one of the original Internet Standards.
Throughout his career, Mockapetris has contributed significantly to the evolution of the Internet through both research and industry. His earliest work at UC Irvine on distributed systems and LAN technology preceded the commercial Ethernet and Token Ring designs. During the early 1990s, he served as program manager for networking at ARPA, supervising efforts such as gigabit and optical networking. He has also held leadership roles at several Silicon Valley networking startups, including @Home, Software.com (now OpenWave), Fiberlane (now Cisco), and Siara (now Redback Networks).