David Walden

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David Walden
Longview, Washington


[biography construction has just begun]

David Walen's memoir of learning computing includes some general biographical information.

Involvement with the IEEE and IEEE Computer Society


  • Life member of the IEEE and member of the IEEE Computer Society.
  • Founding chair of the IEEE Internet Award committee (involved through the first several of its award cycles).
  • Member of the editorial board of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing since 2006.
    • Anecdotes editor 2008-2012
    • Interviews editor 2012-2013
    • Anecdotes editor again starting in 2013
    • Acting Editor-in-Chief June 2014 to December 2014
    • Events and Sightings editor, starting mid-2020
    • Computer Society Certificate of Appreciation in Recognition of Outstanding Service, awarded in 2013, for work with the Annals
    • IEEE Computer Society Outstanding Contribution Award, June 2015: “In recognition of outstanding service to the success of the magazine IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, and in particular for his leadership as Acting Editor-in-Chief.”
  • Member of the IEEE Computer Society History Committee, 2011-to present
    • 2011-2012 Chair of the IEEE Computer Society History Committee, during which time Walden acted as co-creator and publisher for the committee's website[link], and particularly for the history of computing in India by V.Rajaraman[link], the update of the Society's computing history timeline[link], and The Compatible Time-Sharing System (1961–1973) Fiftieth Anniversary Commemorative Overview[link].
    • Continues as a member of the History Committee and as co-maintainer of its website.
    • Computer Society Certificate of Appreciation in Recognition of Outstanding Service, awarded in 2011, for my work with the History Committee.
  • Member of the Computer Society's Golden Core, awarded in 2013, for "contributions to the Society's success."

A journey of involvement with the IEEE and IEEE Computer Society

A bit before 2000 Janet Abbate asked Walden if he had any ARPANET/Internet anecdotes that hw might write up for the Anecdotes column of the Annals of the History of Computing. Hw could not spare the time to do that then. A couple of years later Nils Liaaen and Walden wrote up their memories of the LKF Network in Norway. Abbate was no longer the Anecdotes editor and put Walden in touch with the then editor Anne Fitzpatrick who accepted the anecdote for publication. During the publication process, editor-in-chief Tim Bergin read the paper and asked Walden if he wanted to submit the LFK piece to the refereeing process for regular articles rather than have the piece published as an unrefereed anecdote. Walden preferred earlier publication as an anecdote, but he and Bergin remained in occasional email contract from that point on.

As a result of that first Annals anecdote experience, it occurred to Walden that he and Bernie Cosell had a possible anecdote about the creation of Telnet's negotiated options mechanism. They wrote and submitted this article, and it was accepted for publication.

Somewhere along the line, Tim Bergin asked Walden if he might be interested in pulling together a special issue of the Annals on computing at BBN. Walden checked with currnet and prior BBN employees who might be authors for papers about various parts of BBN's computing history and with Ray Nickerson about being co-editor of a special issue. Nickerson and a sufficient set of authors agreed, and work began on this special issue for Bergin. When Bergin's term ended and David Grier became editor-in-chief, the BBN team continued its work on what became two special issues.

Once the special issues on computing at BBN were published (2005 and 2006), David Grier asked Walden to join the editorial board of the Annals. As a member of board, Walden mostly participated in the refereeing process.

Grier noted Walden's efforts on behalf of the Annals to Jeff Yost who took over as Annals editor-in-chief when Grier's term ended. Yost appointed Walden as Anecdotes editor starting in 2008. Then for 2011 Yost asked Walden to start an Interviews column after which Walden phased out as Anecdotes editor by early 2012.

In the meantime, David Grier was moving upward in the Computer Society, and for 2011 he recommended Walden to president Sorel Reisman as chair of the Society's History Committee. Walden served as chair of the committee in 2011 and was reappointed for 2012 by 2012 president John Walz. He also simultaneously continued his service as Interviews editor for the Annals.

From June through December 2014 Walden served as acting editor-in-chief of the Annals during a search for a new Editor in Chief, at the request of the Society Magazines VP, Paolo Montuschi.

See the bulleted list above for the rest of the journey.

Partial ibliography of IEEE publications

  • Interview with Michael R. Williams, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 43, no. 2, 2020, pp. 72-86.
  • Interview of Larry Bohn,IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 42, no. 1, 2020, pp. 51-62.
  • Ray Nickerson and Walden were the special issue editors of two special issues (April-June 2005 and January-March 2006) of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing on computer history at BBN. The articles in these issues and some additional content eventually resulted in a book on BBN's computing history.