• 1942
    (b.) -
    2015 June 07


Co-founder of Ungermann-Bass (UB), he was considered to be a founding father of the data communications industry. He was often described as one of the most important minds of the computer era. Born in Provo Utah, his family moved to Santa Paula, California when he was three. He studied Electrical Engineering at U.C. Berkeley in California from 1960 until 1964. After college he worked for Collins Radio, and in 1969 he joined Intel, where he became the Manager of the 8080 project. In 1974 once the 8080 project was finished, he left Intel with coworker Federico Faggin and co-founded, Zilog, the first company dedicated to microprocessor production for the personal computer. Zilog became a challenging competitor of Intel when in July of 1976 it unveiled the 8-bit Z80 microprocessor, which was faster and cheaper than the 8080. In 1978, he and one of his engineers at Zilog, Charlie Bass, left Zilog to form Ungermann-Bass (UB), a computer networking company located in Santa Clara, California, in Silicon Valley specializing in local-area networks, particularly in Ethernet technology. UB which dominated the LAN side of computing and networking was the first large networking company independent of any computer manufacturer. Their Vice President of Engineering, John Davidson, was one of the creators of NCP, the transport protocol of the ARPANET before TCP. UB specialized in large enterprise networks connecting computer systems and devices from multiple vendors, which was unusual in the 1980s. At that time most network equipment came from computer manufacturers and usually used only protocols compatible with that one manufacturer's computer systems, such as IBM's SNA or DEC's DECNet. Many UB products initially used the XNS protocol suite, including the flagship 'Net/One, and later transitioned to TCP/IP as it became an industry standard in the late 1980s. UB marketed a broadband (in the original technical sense) version of Ethernet known as 10BROAD36 in the mid-1980s. It was generally seen as hard to install. UB was one of the first network manufacturers to sell equipment that implemented Ethernet over twisted pair wiring. UB's AccessOne product line initially used the pre-standard StarLAN and, when it became standard, 10BASE-T. UB went public in 1983 but was then bought by Tandem Computers in 1988. In 1993 he left UB and co-founded First Virtual Communications in Redwood City, creating software to allow the transfer of data, images, sound and videoconferencing on-line. In 2003 he co-founded China Seed LLC, a Shanghai based Venture Capital firm with focused investments in China and Taiwan. A resident of the San Francisco Bay area, he passed away in June of 2015. He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.
  • Date of Birth:

  • Date of Death:

    2015 June 07
  • Noted For:

    Co-founded Ungermann-Bass (UB), the first large networking company independent of any computer manufacturer
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