Jeff Rulifson

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Jeff Rulifson
Jeff Rulifson in 2008.jpg
Jeff Rulifson in 2008
Born 1941
(1941-08-20) August 20, 1941 (age 76)
Nationality American
Alma mater

University of Washington

Stanford University
Known for Development of the oN-Line System (NLS)
Scientific career
Fields Computer science

Stanford Research Institute
Xerox PARC


Johns Frederick (Jeff) Rulifson (born August 20, 1941) is an American computer scientist.

Early life and education

Johns Frederick Rulifson was born August 20, 1941 in Bellefontaine, Ohio. His father was Erwin Charles Rulifson and mother was Virginia Helen Johns. He married Janet Irving on June 8, 1963 and had two children.[1] Rulifson graduated with a BS in mathematics from the University of Washington in 1966.[1]


Rulifson joined the Augmentation Research Center, at the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in 1966. He led the software team that implemented the oN-Line System (NLS), a system that foreshadowed many future developments in modern computing and networking.[2] Although Douglas Engelbart was the founder and leader of ARC, Rulifson's innovative programming was essential to the realization of Engelbart's vision.

Rulifson was the SRI's representative to the "network working group" in 1968, which led to the first connection on the ARPANET.[3] He described the Decode-Encode Language (DEL), which was designed to allow remote use of NLS over ARPANET.[4] Although never used, the idea was small "programs" would be down-loaded to enhance user interaction. This concept was fully developed in Sun Microsystems's Java programming language almost 30 years later, as applets.[5]

Rulifson earned a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University in 1973.[6] Rulifson left SRI to join the System Sciences Laboratory (SSL) within Xerox PARC in 1973. While at PARC, he worked on implementing distributed office systems. He worked for ROLM in 1980 as an engineering manager. In 1985 he joined the company Syntelligence in Sunnyvale, California.[1] He worked for Sun Microsystems Laboratories, in Ivan Sutherland's lab since 1987. Sun was purchased by Oracle Corporation in 2010.


In 1990, Rulifson won the Association for Computing Machinery's Software System Award for implementing groundbreaking innovations such as hypertext, outline processors, and video conferencing.[7]

In 1994, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.


  1. ^ a b c "Johns Frederick (Jeff) Rulifson". Biographical Sketches. Stanford University. November 9, 1996. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Johns Frederick (Jeff) Rulifson". SRI Hall of fame. SRI International. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  3. ^ Steve Crocker (April 7, 1969), "Host Software", RFC 1, Network Working Group 
  4. ^ Jeff Rulifson (June 2, 1969), "DEL", RFC 5, Network Working Group 
  5. ^ RFC Editor, et a. (April 7, 1999), "30 Years of RFCs", RFC 2555, Network Working Group 
  6. ^ Jeff Rulifson; Jan Derksen; Richard Waldinger (November 1973). "QA4, A Procedural Calculus for Intuitive Reasoning". SRI AI Center Technical Note 73. 
  7. ^ "1990 – Jeff Rulifson: NLS". Software system award citation. Association for Computing Machinery. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 

External links

  • Jeff Rulifson Google homepage
  • "Invisible Revolution: Jeff Rulifson". Video Interview with Frode Hegland and Fleur Klijnsma. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  • Augmentation Research Center Status Report, March, 1967[permanent dead link]
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