Dr. David P. Reed enjoys architecting the information space in which people, groups and organizations interact. He is well known as a pioneer in the design and construction of the Internet protocols, distributed data storage, and PC software systems and applications.

He is co-inventor of the end-to-end argument, often called the fundamental architectural principle of the Internet.

Recently, he discovered Reed's Law, a scaling law for group-forming network architectures. Along with Metcalfe's Law, Reed's Law has significant implications for large-scale network business models.

His current areas of personal research are focused on densely scalable, mobile, and robust RF network architectures and highly decentralized systems architectures.

Research Career

Beginning in the year 2001, Dr. Reed has reentered the research world. Since 2001 he has been working with Alan Kay's Viewpoints Research Institute creating a new software platform called Croquet with co-creators David A. Smith and Andreas Raab. He has also been a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Laboratory, and in 2002 was appointed Adjunct Professor of Media Arts and Sciences there. From 2003-2009,he was also a part-time HP Fellow at HP Laboratories. Recently, he joined SAP Labs, where he is Senior Vice President in the Chief Scientist Group.

Before joining the commercial world at Software Arts in 1983, he was an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (now absorbed into CSAIL), where he helped to shape the early design of LANs and communication protocols. He participated in the design of the protocol suite now used in the Internet and also worked on systems architectures for confederated networks of interconnected personal computers.

He also made major contributions to research on security and resource management in time-shared, multiprocessor computer systems as part of the Multics project.

As a student at MIT, Dr. Reed also was involved in developing commercial implementations of MACLISP and MACSYMA.

As a teacher, he helped develop undergraduate and graduate courses in computer and communication systems design, and programming language implementation and design.

Dr. Reed holds a B.S. in electrical engineering and M.S and Ph.D. degrees in computer science and engineering from MIT.

Business Career

In addition to his research roles, Dr. Reed has been active in the commercial world. For the last few years, he has acted as an strategic advisor to small and large technology based businesses, and consultant on advanced computing and communications technology. His primary consulting activities have focused on businesses that want to capture or create value resulting from disruptive dispersion of network and computing technology into the spaces in which people and companies collaborate and partner.

Prior to independence, Dr. Reed spent four years at Interval Research Corporation, exploring portable and consumer media technology.

For seven years prior to joining Interval, Dr. Reed was vice president and chief scientist for Lotus Development Corporation, where he led the design and implementation of key products, including 1-2-3, and guided its technology strategy.

Prior to joining Lotus, Dr. Reed was vice president of research and development and chief scientist at Software Arts, the creator of VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet.

Advisory Roles

Dr. Reed has played a key role on the advisory board of the Vanguard research and advisory program, which was begun in 1991 by CSC Index, and is now a part of the Technology Transfer Institute.

He is also a Fellow in the Diamond (formerly Diamond Technology Partners) DiamondExchange program.

In addition, he advises companies ranging from startups to mature businesses on technology and business strategy that relates to technology.


Dr. Reed continues to build and prototype home LANs and portable computer technology in his home laboratory.