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David Patrick Reed

Last Edit: 24/01/17

David Patrick Reed is a computer scientist who is credited with designing the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). UDP is one of the core protocols of the Internet protocol suite, and without it, many Internet applications would struggle to function. David Reed is an American citizen and was born on the 31st of January, 1952. Reed studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); where he was involved in the commercial development of the MACLISP and MACSYMA computer systems. Reed has also taught students, and worked at: SAP Labs, Interval Research Corporation, IBM San Jose Research Laboratory, Lotus Development Corporation, MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, MIT Media Laboratory and HP Labs. David Reed also outlined Reed's Law: a model for large scale social networks. Reed has stated on his website ( that he "enjoys architecting the information space in which people, groups and organisations interact."

In relation to the Internet, Reed is primarily known as being the designer of the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), however, his contribution to computer science is more far extensive; for example, he created the code base and architecture of all versions of Lotus 1-2-3 . Reed is acknowledged as contributing to the early development of Internet protocols - not just UDP - such as: source routing, link header compression, and IP signals. UDP was designed by Reed as an alternative to TCP: TCP provides a reliable transmission of data for application programs (like web browsers). However, TCP is complex and slow, whereas UDP is a basic protocol with a minimum of mechanisms, that enables application programs to communicate faster.

After designing the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Reed made another important contribution to the development of the architectural foundation of the Internet. Reed, along with David D. Clark and Jerome "Jerry" Saltzer, co-invented the end-to-end argument. The end-to-end argument states that host computers, instead of nodes, should be responsible for application specific functions. The end-to-end argument promoted the notion of 'net neutrality': an unintelligent 'dumb' network that simple routes data. As already stated: another important contribution that Reed has made to computer networking is Reed's Law: which is credited with having a significant implication for large scale commercial network models like social networks.