February 25, 2024


It's the Technology

Computer science professor from Johnstown honored for his contribution to internet development, excellence in teaching

May 15—Carl Williams, a 1982 Bishop McCort High School graduate who now teaches computer science at Temple University, has received the the university’s Part-Time Excellence in Teaching and Instruction award and was recently inducted into the IPv6 Hall of Fame.

Williams became interested in programming during his time in high school and recalls Bishop McCort receiving Commodore computers when he was a senior.

“I fell in love,” the adjunct professor said.

As his fascination with the new technology grew, he began investigating universities with programming majors and landed on Kent State University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Williams majored in computer science and software engineering, and during his education, he participated in three internships, one at Hewlett-Packard, another at Digital Equipment Corp. and the final one with Firestone Research Labs.

Throughout his education, the Johnstown native always had his sights set on Sun Microsystems, which was one of the largest computer companies of the time. Williams got a job at the business not long after finishing his schooling, and worked there for 10 years.

During his time at Sun, the computer scientist worked on development of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

Internet Protocol provides locations and identifications for computers on networks and routes traffic across the internet. A significant portion of modern devices still use IPv4.

Williams said a key to the newer version is global accessibility. There were around four billion IPv4 addresses, and those have been exhausted. According to www.networkworld.com, IPv6 is more efficient, increases security and improves performance.

His work with this technology is what earned him a spot in its Hall of Fame.

Williams was nominated by Vinton Cerf, a technological pioneer often referred to as a father of the internet. The two have known each other since 2001.

“I’m so joyous that my work since 1994 is so recognized by leaders in the internet community,” Williams said.

In a statement provided to The Tribune-Democrat, Cerf said Williams “contributes mightily to the longevity of the Internet with his training of new talent and his focus on the vital introduction of IPv6 into the public Internet.”

Latif Ladid, IPv6 Forum founder and president, shared a similar sentiment, describing Williams as a role model.

“Congrats to your new pioneering award, especially teaching IPv6 at a university, as it is still very rare to find a professor teaching IPv6 in a university as many are still teaching IPv4, not even knowing that IPv6 exists,” he said.

As for the teaching award, Williams was surprised and honored by the recognition. He said his teaching style is focused on empathy and open discussion with a non-traditional approach. He often uses visualization tools, and his goal is to get students critically thinking.

“Williams shares his real-life experiences from the perspective of someone who works in the industry, making every lecture relatable and valuable to my own career,” former student Ariela Pellumbi said in a statement. “There is not a day I am not thankful about Professor Williams’s contribution not only to my knowledge on the topic, but as well as how to approach it effectively.”