All the best, Bernhard Plattner!

The Internet pioneer and SWITCH's first Managing Director is honoured in a series of video messages from former colleagues.

Text: Séverine Jagmetti, published on 29.07.2015

Bernhard Plattner will officially become "emeritus" on 1 August 2015. He has worked at ETH Zurich for 30 years, taking a lead role in the foundation of SWITCH and briefly acting as the foundation’s Managing Director. He was also instrumental at the time in registering .ch as a top-level domain in the Domain Name System.

A reputation extending far beyond ETH Zurich

Plattner’s achievements in researching computer networks and the Internet are not only significant for Switzerland, they have also earned international recognition. This is made clear in a video message from Vint Cerf: "You certainly made wonderful contributions to the Internet in Europe, especially in Switzerland," said the "Father of the Internet" at the 25th anniversary celebration for ETH Zurich’s Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory (TIK), which was co-founded by Plattner.

SWITCH asked a number of people who have worked with Plattner over the years to record a video message for him: Thomas Brunner, Dr phil. Barbara Meili, Dr Andreas Dudler, Prof. Hannes Lubich, Dr Thomas DübendorferUrs Eppenberger and Simon Leinen convey their best wishes for his retirement.

Bernhard Plattner will give his farewell lecture, entitled "The Internet – What Else?" at ETH Zurich on 9 December:

"Our paths have crossed time and again"

Thomas Brunner, Managing Director of SWITCH from 1988 to 2012, studied with Plattner at ETH Zurich and knows him above all from the early days of SWITCH.

Thomas Brunner, Head of Special Projects at SWITCH. Video in Swiss German.

"You’re a great communicator"

Dr phil. Barbara Meili worked closely with Plattner for several years as an external communications consultant on the ETH World project.

Dr phil. Barbara Meili, Barbara Meili Consulting. Video in Swiss German.

"You put results first, not yourself"

Dr Andreas Dudler used to be Head of IT at ETH Zurich and worked with Plattner for many years. He has been Managing Director of SWITCH since 2012.

Dr Andreas Dudler, Managing Director. Video in Swiss German.

"I’ve learned a lot from you"

Prof. Hannes Lubich was a PhD student under Plattner at ETH Zurich. He was involved in the construction and operation of SWITCH’s academic network and the security team SWITCH-CERT.

Prof. Hannes Lubich, lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland’s School of Engineering. Video in German.

"The human factor is really important to you"

Dr Thomas Dübendorfer gained his doctorate at the TIK in 2005. He has been lecturing "Network-Security" together with Plattner since 2007. The course attracts around 80 students each year.

Dr Thomas Dübendorfer, President of the Swiss ICT Investor Club (SICTIC). Video in Swiss German.

"You introduced me to the fascinating world of the Internet"

Urs Eppenberger has known Plattner since he studied electrical engineering at ETH Zurich. He was SWITCH’s first employee.

Urs Eppenberger, Head of Commercial Customers at SWITCH. Video in Swiss German.

"What impresses me is your curiosity – it’s infectious"

Simon Leinen had close contact with Plattner thanks to a research collaboration between the TIK and SWITCH centring on the analysis of SWITCHlan netflow data.

Simon Leinen, SWITCH Peta Solutions. Video in German.


Photo: ETH Zürich / Inken De Wit

Prof. Bernhard Plattner

Bernhard Plattner was a key player in bringing the Internet to Switzerland’s universities as a long-serving member of SWITCH’s Foundation Council and as its Vice-Chairman.

Born on 8 June 1950 in Bern, he studied at ETH Zurich’s Department of Electrical Engineering. He was later appointed Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich and intensified his research into information technology, earning international acclaim for his research group’s publications.

In 1990, he founded together with Prof. Albert Kündig the Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory (TIK) at ETH Zurich. Most of his time since then has been devoted to high-speed networks and multimedia communication. Plattner was Professor of Computer Engineering at ETH Zurich from 1994 until August 2015. It was in this capacity that he led the ETH World programme between 2000 and 2005. The technologies developed during that time for communication independent of time and location are now available to all ETH Zurich members.

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