Rolf Nordhagen

Posthumous Recipient

Dr. Nordhagen had leading roles in the forming years of the Norwegian academic network UNINETT, and the Nordic university network NORDUnet. He is regarded as one of the founding parents of networking in these regions.

Nordhagen discovered the power of computers and international collaboration as a nuclear physicist in the1960s. In 1972 he became head of the Computing Center at the University of Oslo. Inspired by ARPAnet, he started projects to develop networks and services, and through international collaboration, important pioneering protocol work was done.

From 1976 Nordhagen had leading roles in establishing a research network among the universities in Norway though UNINETT. Already aware of the network as a tool for human interaction, he installed an early news and social networking service, COM, in 1978. Through the UNINETT connected to the computer running COM, the service became popular; it was an apparent preamble for the Internet of today.

Starting in 1980 Nordhagen was active in establishing a network among the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. In 1985 this became the university network NORDUnet. In 1988 Nordhagen became professor of Informatics and began leading projects for supporting networking in East European countries, primarily in the Baltics. As a member of the NATO Advisory Panel on Computer Networking he was also engaged in Internet support to universities in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Nordhagen died at the age of 85 on July 1, 2013.