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ITU-T Recommendation X.1255

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FASTER Meeting - December 3, 2013
ITU-T Recommendation X.1255: Discovery of Identity Management Information
Dr. Robert Kahn

About the Speaker

Robert E. Kahn, Ph.D.
Chairman, CEO and President of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI)

Robert Kahn

Robert E. Kahn is Chairman, CEO and President of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), which he founded in 1986 after a thirteen year term at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). CNRI was created as a not-for-profit organization to provide leadership and funding for research and development of the National Information Infrastructure.

After receiving a B.E.E. from the City College of New York in 1960, Dr. Kahn earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University in 1962 and 1964 respectively. He worked on the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories and then became an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT. He took a leave of absence from MIT to join Bolt Beranek and Newman, where he was responsible for the system design of the Arpanet, the first packet-switched network. In 1972 he moved to DARPA and subsequently became Director of DARPA's Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO). While Director of IPTO he initiated the United States government's billion dollar Strategic Computing Program, the largest computer research and development program ever undertaken by the federal government. Dr. Kahn conceived the idea of open-architecture networking. He is a co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocols and was responsible for originating DARPA's Internet Program. Dr. Kahn also coined the term National Information Infrastructure (NII) in the mid-1980s which later became more widely known as the Information Super Highway.

In his recent work, Dr. Kahn has been developing the concept of a digital object architecture as a key middleware component of the NII. This notion is providing a framework for interoperability of heterogeneous information systems and is being used in many applications such as the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). He is a co-inventor of Knowbot programs, mobile software agents in the network environment.

Dr. Kahn is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of AAAI, a Fellow of ACM and a Fellow of the Computer History Museum. He is a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy, and the National Archives & Records Administration Advisory Committee on the Electronic Records Archives (ACERA). Among his many awards, he is a recipient of the National Medal of Technology, ACM Turing Award, Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

About the Presentation

ITU-T Recommendation X.1255 provides an open-architecture framework for discovery of identity management information. This Recommendation began as a contribution to ITU-T Study Group 17 for a standard on interoperability between heterogeneous information systems. Although there was considerable interest in the contribution at the time, it was assigned to a working group on identity management, which quickly determined the most pressing aspect of their work was on discovery of such information. So, the contribution and the language therein were redirected to that topic.

After much discussion and commentary within the working group, it was concluded that the specific suggestion be made somewhat more abstract so that multiple contributions would be possible for components of the proposed Recommendation. The result was a framework document that suggests how to think about achieving the desired end result of discovery (or interoperability more generally), without specifying exactly how to go about it. This is analogous to describing the Internet by starting with specific protocols to implement and then abstracting those protocols into a framework of generic objectives.

The approach to discovery of identity management information is not really different from discovery of any other kind of information in digital form. It requires the ability of individual systems to share information of their choice in a federation of such systems. Both hierarchical and peer-peer federations are discussed along with the means by which independent systems can exchange information with administrative controls.

The Recommendation was based on technology developed by Dr. Robert Kahn and his team at Corporation for National Research Initiatives® (CNRI) in Reston, Virginia. Dr. Kahn is a co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocols and was responsible for originating DARPA's Internet Program.

Presentation Slides

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Link to ITU-T Recommendation X.1255