I was invited to go to the National Science Foundation and I joined them on the 1st of January 1985 as the first Program Director for Networking. So my role was to build the supercomputer access network. Well when I arrived I changed all that. I decided that instead of building a specific network for supercomputer access, I’d take a more strategic, long-term view—at least that’s how I express it nowadays. I probably didn’t think of it in those terms.
When I first learned about being named for this award, I listened to the acceptance speeches of prior awardees and I noticed the central theme was “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.” And in fact I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
I was hired to build a supercomputer access network. or a set of networks for supercomputer access. The reason I took the job was that I saw an opportunity to do something much bigger in that.