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AIT’s Prof Kanchana is first Thai inducted into global Internet Hall of Fame
Affectionately referred to as the “Mother of the Internet in Thailand” for her pioneering work, Professor Kanchana Kanchanasut of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) on 26 June 2013 was inducted into the global Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Prof. Kanchana was the first person to introduce electronic mail and the Internet to Thailand. She was also actively involved in many Internet connectivity initiatives in other Southeast Asian countries, championing the idea of email, and later the Internet in the region.
Prof. Kanchana was honored in the Pioneer Circle category, which recognizes individuals instrumental in the early design and development of the Internet. The 32 new inductees were recognized for their groundbreaking contributions to the global Internet, and comprise some of the world’s most influential engineers, activists, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Dr. Tim Berners-Lee are notable former Hall of Fame inductees.
In a press release, the Internet Society said: “The Internet Hall of Fame recognizes a select group of visionaries, leaders, and luminaries who have made significant contributions to the development and advancement of the global Internet. The Internet Hall of Fame celebrates Internet visionaries, innovators, and leaders from around the world who believed in the design and potential of an open Internet and, through their work, helped change the way we live and work today.”
“This year’s inductees represent a group of people as diverse and dynamic as the Internet itself,” noted Internet Society President and CEO Lynn St. Amour. “As some of the world’s leading thinkers, these individuals have pushed the boundaries of technological and social innovation to connect the world and make it a better place.”
Twenty-five years ago Thailand was connected to the Internet for the first time through the efforts of the computer scientist and her colleagues based at AIT. Online connectivity began in the late 1980s after Prof. Kanchana used a Unix-based workstation as a server to establish the Kingdom’s first Internet connection, hooking up with colleagues in Australia and the United States.
Prof. Kanchana credits AIT’s emphasis on international collaboration as the prime factor that forced Internet innovation. “My international colleagues abroad required constant communication, so we really needed email.”
In June 1988, Prof. Kanchana successfully registered the Internet top-level domain name “.TH” with the groundbreaking ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the precursor of today’s Internet. The move ushered the country into the world of the nascent communication network. For the first time, email addresses were possible for members of the academic community in Thailand through dial-up accounts to AIT through “ait.th”.
The Internet quickly flourished amongst Thai academicians until 1994, after which commercial Internet Service Providers (ISP) were born and provided the nation’s general population with access to the Internet for the first time.
Prof. Kanchana is director of the Internet Education and Research Laboratory (intERLab) at AIT, where she is also acting vice president for research and professor of computer science at its School of Engineering and Technology.
Dr. Kanchana Kanchanasut: www.internethalloffame.org/inductees/kanchana-kanchanasut
About AIT: www.ait.asia
About the Internet Hall of Fame: www.internethalloffame.org
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