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David Patrick Reed

Last Edit: 10/01/17

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).

While Reed is primarily known as being the inventor of the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), his contribution to computer networking is more far extensive. During the 1970's, DARPA funded the development of TCP/IP, and Reed is acknowledged as contributing to the early development of TCP/IP. TCP/IP is primarily comprised of the two communication protocols: IP and TCP.

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, and UDP is a basic protocol, with a minimum of mechanisms, that enables application programs to communicate faster. Therefore, it is safe to say, that Reed's involvement in the development of TCP/IP (in the 1970's) helped him to formulate and design UDP; which was released in 1980.

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 principle. The end-to-end principle states that host computers, instead of nodes, should be responsible for application specific functions. The end-to-end principle promoted the notion of 'net neutrality': an unintelligent 'dumb' network that simple routes data.

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.