Milestone-Proposal talk:ALOHANET (aka ALOHA System)

Revision as of 16:35, 4 March 2020 by KnowledgeAcquirer (talk | contribs) (TCP/IP credit belongs to ARPANET)

Advocates and reviewers will post their comments below. In addition, any IEEE member can sign in with their ETHW login (different from IEEE Single Sign On) and comment on the milestone proposal's accuracy or completeness as a form of public review.

Advocate's Assessment -- Dmichelson (talk) 08:37, 21 February 2020 (UTC)

There is absolutely no doubt that ALOHANET should be recognized.

The first demonstration that wireless channels could be effectively and efficiently shared using relatively simple random access protocols, ALOHANET contradicted many commonly held assumptions about random access channels. Its significance was immense and immediately recognized. Advanced random access protocols such as CSMA/CD and technologies such as Ethernet, Wi-Fi, etc. were a direct result.

The title and citation needed significant work. I have edited the proposal to reflect this.

It is noteworthy that Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, has stepped forward to endorse this proposal.

Statement of Support from Dr. Metcalfe for IEEE Milestone ALOHAnet (aka ALOHA System).

Yes, I support ALOHAnet as an IEEE Milestone.

Professor Norm Abramson’s inventions and analysis of Aloha channels at Hawaii were a fountain of ideas for other network researchers and queuing theorists. At Xerox Parc in 1973 we adopted ALOHAnet’s randomized retransmissions for the first Ethernet’s packet access method, which we called CSMA/CD – carrier sense multiple access with collision detection.

Robert M. Metcalfe, PhD, UTAustin Professor of Innovation, Recipient of the IEEE Medal of Honor, Eminent Member of IEEE HKN

In future, we should make clear to proposers that they are not competing for an award. Instead, we are trying to capture a moment in time when something important happened that had important downstream effects.

ALOHANET citation -- Amy Bix (talk) 18:00, 23 February 2020 (UTC)

Great project! But again, I wonder about ways to make the citation more meaningful to the general public (also, the part about "contradicted many then commonly held assumptions about random access channels" seems vague and doesn't mean much out of context). I think we're also missing a date. How about something like the following:

ALOHAnet, the world's first packet radio network, created affordable computer connections across Hawaii's islands in 1971. ALOHAnet employed innovative random access protocols, proving their efficiency for large-scale sharing of communications channels. ALOHA techniques opened the field of packet broadcasting and pioneered network engineering. ALOHAnet attracted military and civilian interest, advancing development of modern mobile, wireless, satellite, and Internet systems. (59 words)

As always, please check for accuracy..... Amy

Re: ALOHANET citation -- Ebruton (talk) 13:41, 26 February 2020 (UTC)

I think Amy's version of the text is a good one. Yes, the date is in the headline but I think it is worth repeating in the text. I also think elaborating on what is meant by personal wireless communications *plus* the civilian and military use make the text more accessible to the general public.

Ebruton (talk) 13:41, 26 February 2020 (UTC)

-- Dmichelson (talk) 19:21, 23 February 2020 (UTC)

Many thanks for your comments!

1. The date is in the title. In the past, that has been considered sufficient.

2. This is an IEEE Milestone so the citation wording needs to be ring true on both the expert and general levels. I’ve edited the last sentence of the citation to read

The ALOHA packet radio data network provided the first demonstration that communications channels could be effectively and efficiently shared on a large scale using relatively simple random access protocols. ALOHA showed that random access techniques could be far more efficient than had been previously assumed and led directly to the development of Ethernet and many of the personal wireless communications technologies in common use today.

Re: -- Jason.k.hui (talk) 17:13, 27 February 2020 (UTC)

Since ALOHA is an acronym and is used more than once in the citation, it needs to be defined. The beginning of the second sentence sounds a bit redundant with the second half of the first sentence.

Re: Re: -- Dmichelson (talk) 04:23, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

ALOHA is not an acronym. I vaguely recall that someone tried to turn it into one, but it didn’t catch on.

Re: -- John Vardalas (talk) 16:15, 28 February 2020 (UTC)

Aloha does indeed deserve a Milestone. The proposal is well written and referenced. I am divided between Dave's and Amy's versions. I also believe that, whenever possible, the citation should confer a sense of place to the reader. The plaque's location should set up a strong connection between the achievement and the place were he or she is standing and reading the plaque. Geography is important. The citation makes not reference that it all took place at to the University of Hawaii. Geography should always be important in the Milestones, but in this case it is vital. Innovation arose to solve a geographic problem: creating cheaper data communications linkages between campuses dispersed over several islands. This solution proved scalable to the world's geography.I would like to see the citation include some mention that this achievement took place at the University of Hawaii.

I humbly suggest the following hybrid citation for the proposers' consideration

"The ALOHA packet radio data network provided the first demonstration that communications channels could be effectively and efficiently shared on a large scale using relatively simple random access protocols. These techniques, which proved to be far more efficient than had previously been assumed, gave rise to Ethernet and the internet. ALOHA, developed first to link the campuses of the University of Hawaii, opened the door to the planet being connected." (70 words)

Re: Re: -- Dmichelson (talk) 04:31, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

I agree with John’s intent and believe it’s on the right track. But we need to be careful. ALOHA had little to do with the Internet. ALOHA lives at the Medium Access Control or MAC layer. The Internet lives at the Network layer and is based upon the Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol, neither of which have anything to do with ALOHA.
Re: Re: Re: -- Dmichelson (talk) 09:45, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

How about this? 58 words.

In June 1971, the ALOHA packet radio data network began providing inter-island access to computing facilities at the University of Hawaii. The first demonstration that communications channels could be effectively and efficiently shared on a large scale using relatively simple random access protocols, it led directly to the development of Ethernet and many important personal wireless communications technologies.

Re: Re: Re: Re: -- John Vardalas (talk) 17:30, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

I like this version. It meets my concern for a sense of geography. I also believe, like Juan Carlos below, that ALOHA should NOT be seen as a meaningful acronym. Aloha is a quintessential Hawaiian greeting. As for my error in trying to make ALOHA a progenitor TCP/IP, I stand corrected and leave it to more knowledgeable people to fill in the precise technical merits. It would still be desirable, but not essential, if, in the citation, we could take the reader from Ethernet to some broader benefit with a concrete name that is easily recognizable to the general public.

I will support any variant of Dave's latest version.

=Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: -- KnowledgeAcquirer (talk) 16:35, 4 March 2020 (UTC)=

Credit for TCP/IP really belongs to ARPANET, not ALOHANET. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the first wide-area packet-switching network with distributed control and the first network to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet.

As discussed in my proposal submission, ARPANET focus was packet switching (of which TCP/IP is part of its foundation) as opposed to ALOHAnet (focus was packet radio broadcasting). I believe my closing last sentence in the Historical Significance by Robert Kahn, , “The ALOHA system was to packet radio like the original timesharing computer was to Arpanet” makes this clear.

2nd expert review -- Dmichelson (talk) 02:45, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

Hi Dave,

I support the recognition of the ALOHA project as an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing.

Since its introduction as a means for efficiently sharing a communication link, the ALOHA protocol and its many variants have inspired researchers and practitioners alike. Fifty years on, the prevalence of the ALOHA concept in current generation communication networks is truly remarkable.

Best regards,

Prof. Cyril Leung

University of British Columbia

Dept of Electrical & Computer Engineering

ALOHAnet citation -- Savini (talk) 19:00, 1 March 2020 (UTC)

I have no doubt about the importance of the proposal. As concerns the citation, I am in favour of Amy's version. Additionally I would prefer that the technical meaning of te acronym ALOHA is explained.

Antonio S.

=Re: ALOHAnet citation -- Dmichelson (talk) 04:21, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

ALOHA is not an acronym. I vaguely recall that someone tried to turn it into one, but it didn’t catch on.

Re: =Re: ALOHAnet citation -- Jason.k.hui (talk) 11:45, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

In the proposal text, it states that "ALOHA acronym was derived from Additive Links On-line Hawaii Area."

Re: =Re: ALOHAnet citation -- Dmichelson (talk) 07:03, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

I talked to the proposer. This contrived definition, which makes no real technical sense, was briefly put forward in a few internal reports during the first year or two of the project but abandoned before the system was actually deployed. One of these internal reports also mentions that user terminals were called keiki, but this term was also abandoned. Only the term menehune (Hawaiian for imp) for the packet network controller survived, mostly because it was a clever play on the acronym IMP (Interface Message processor), the equivalent device on the early ARPANET.

Abramson’s original paper refers to “THE ALOHA SYSTEM” (the use of the term ALOHANET came later) but doesn’t make any mention of that ALOHA stands for anything. Certainly none of the major reports written by Abramson and others since then have mentioned it. For decades, the prevailing wisdom has been that ALOHA is not an acronym.

A few years ago, some people seem to have noticed that this contrived definition was mentioned in some early internal reports, and a handful of papers have since mentioned this as if it is some sort of revelation and the definition is being restored to its rightful place. It’s worth a footnote in the proposal that such a definition was briefly considered then abandoned by the team. But certainly not in the citation. The proposer agrees with this and has modified the proposal.

Another minor issue that we need to sort out is the start date. The milestone proposal says 1966, but the project itself started in September 1968. See Abramson’s 1985 review in IEEE Trans IT, among other sources. The proposer agrees with this and has modified the proposal.

ALOHA Citation -- Juan Carlos (talk) 12:05, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

ALOHA is a text-book name and its invention deserves a milestone.

Regarding the citation, I can see there are four issues:

1 - The mention to the University of Hawaii ties the Milestone to the geography which was a prerequisite for the invention.

2 - Careful about the efficiency; it is theoretically less than 18% and I wouldn’t use the word.

3 - we think of ALOHA as a word, it’s a greeting. To include the forced esoteric acronym [Additive Links On-line Hawaii Area] would take a lot of words and doesn’t give back much useful information. And ALOHA is kind of a “hello, are you there?” protocol ! So just the name is appropriate.

4 - Ethernet was invented based on ALOHA; it is a very important IEEE standard that must be mentioned.

Dave Kemp comments -- Administrator1 (talk) 14:40, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

I support this milestone proposal