Dan Pitt is Executive Director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Dan helped launch ONF in March, 2011, following a distinguished and varied career in networking and engineering. As Executive Director, Dan manages ONF’s strategy, technical activities, external relations, Board of Directors, finance, operations, and legal matters. Dan is instrumental in building the organization’s infrastructure to serve members and fulfill ONF’s mission of fostering a vibrant commercial market for SDN products and services.
Dan began his career with IBM Networking Systems in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, where he became the lead architect for IBM’s local area network products, responsible for its architecture specifications and for its worldwide standardization and spending many years as a voting member of IEEE 802. In 1990 he was named manager of the customer-premises networks group at the IBM Zurich research laboratory in Rüschlikon, Switzerland, where he led the development of one of the industry’s first operational gigabit LANs and created and standardized ATM LAN emulation, an important industry step in the harmonization of datacom and telecom technologies.
In 1992 Dan was appointed department manager for multimedia communications at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Palo Alto. In that role he guided corporate R&D positions for residential broadband technologies and services, including some of the earliest Internet services for cable operators, and led the system architecture for the company’s broadband video server. He served as chair of the server committee for the Geneva-based Digital Audio Visual Council (DAVIC) in its production of the DAVIC 1.0 spec for video on demand.
In 1997 he joined the new executive team at Bay Networks as Vice President and Founding Director of the Bay Architecture Lab, reporting directly to CEO Dave House. There he developed the company’s strategy for IP, ATM, quality of service, and a wide range of networking issues, realizing them in ingredient technologies, DSP and networking-protocol libraries, and new products and standardizing them in the IEEE, ATM Forum, and IETF. When the company was acquired in 1998 by Nortel Networks Dan became Vice President of the Technology Center, comprising 300 people in nine cities in five countries on four continents and contributing numerous technologies and standards for routing, switching, voice-over-IP, powered and ten gigabit ethernet, and network control. His group also developed an experimental architecture for separating the control plane from the data plane for optical and packet networks (still browsable at www.openetlab.org). In 2001 he took on the role of Nortel’s Vice President for Academic Partnerships, establishing best practices for both the research and the business aspects of academic-industrial relations.
From 2002-2007 Dan served as Dean of the School of Engineering at Santa Clara University and holder of the Sobrato Chair in Engineering. His major accomplishments include launching a sustainability thrust that led to the university’s winning third prize in the U.S. DoE Solar Decathlon competition, twice; instituting a program in bioengineering; leading the school to become #1 in the U.S. in the percentage of tenure track women faculty; and raising the school’s national ranking from #120 to #14.
Since the mid-1990s Dan has advised networking research programs in Australia, at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and National Information and Communication Technology Australia (NICTA). From 2007-2011, as president of Palo Alto Innovation Advisors LLC, he advised and served in executive operational roles in startup companies coming out of CSIRO and NICTA as well as companies in Canada and the U.S., most recently as an executive in residence at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, California. He has served or continues to serve on advisory boards or boards of directors for nearly a dozen companies.
Dan also taught for ten years as an adjunct professor of CS and EE at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, maintained cooperative university research partnerships at IBM and HP, headed university relations for Bay Networks, and established a joint laboratory in Beijing between Nortel and Tsinghua University. He served on advisory boards at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and at UC Berkeley and was instrumental in the establishment and funding of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) there.
Professionally, Dan has served as technical program vice chair for IEEE Globecom (twice), TPC member and general chair for the IEEE LAN/MAN Workshop (longstanding), and general chair (and every other conceivable role) for the IEEE Symposium on High-Performance Interconnects (“Hot Interconnects”) from 1994 to the present. He is a senior member of the IEEE and a proud member of the Society of Women Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers. He has over forty publications and one patent to his credit and has lectured around the globe. Dan received a B.S. in mathematics (magna cum laude) from Duke University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois.by