Henning Schulzrinne, the Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Mathematical Methods and Computer Science at Columbia University, has been appointed to the North American Numbering Council (NANC), a federal committee advising the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) on the efficient and impartial administration of telephone numbering resources in North America. Among other responsibilities, the NANC recommends the creation of new area codes when the supply of numbers diminishes due to demand, and it advises on policy and technical issues involving numbering resources. On the Committee, he hopes to accelerate the transition to a more Internet-based and capable system for assigning and managing telephone numbers, adding the ability to prevent the spoofing of caller ID and to port numbers nationwide.
Schulzrinne, who last month completed his second term as Chief Technology Officer at the FCC, has worked with the FCC in a number of positions over the past seven years, helping shape public policy and providing guidance on technology and engineering issues. Schulzrinne played a major role in the FCC’s decision to require mobile carriers to enable customers to contact 911 using text messages. He is active also in technology solutions to limit phone spam (“robocalls”) and enable relay services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
As a researcher in applied networking, Schulzrinne is particularly known for his contributions in developing the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP), the key protocols that enable Voice-over-IP (VoIP) and other multimedia applications. Each is now an Internet standard and together VoIP and SIP have had an immense impact on telecommunications, both by greatly reducing consumer costs and by providing a flexible alternative to the traditional and expensive public-switched telephone network.
Last year Schulzrinne received the 2016 IEEE Internet Award for “formative contributions to the design and standardization of Internet multimedia protocols and applications.” Previously he was named an ACM Fellow (2015), receiving also in 2015 an Outstanding Service Award by the Internet Technical Committee (ITC), of which he was the founding chair. In 2013, Schulzrinne was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. Other notable awards include the New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology and the VON Pioneer Award. Active in serving the broader technology community, Schulzrinne is a past member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Communications Society and a former vice chair of ACM SIGCOMM. He has served on the editorial board of several key publications, chaired important conferences, and published more than 250 journal and conference papers and more than 86 Internet Requests for Comment. He was recently appointed to the Intelligent Infrastructure Task Force of the Computing Community Consortium.
Schulzrinne continues to work on VoIP and other multimedia and networking applications and is currently investigating an overall architecture for the Internet of Things, including new user-friendly means of authentication, and how to protect the electric grid against cyberattacks.
Schulzrinne received his undergraduate degree in economics and electrical engineering from the Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany, his MSEE degree as a Fulbright scholar from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and his PhD from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts.