Radia Joy Perlman (born January 1, 1951) is a software designer and network engineer. She is most famous for her invention of the spanning-tree protocol (STP), which is fundamental to the operation of network bridges, while working for Digital Equipment Corporation. She also made large contributions to many other areas of network design and standardization, such as link-state protocols, including TRILL, which she invented to correct some of the shortcomings of spanning-trees.
She is currently employed by EMC Corporation.
As an undergraduate at MIT she undertook a UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity), in lieu of course units, within the LOGO Lab at the (then) MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Working under the supervision of Seymour Papert, she developed a child-friendly version of the educational robotics language LOGO, called TORTIS ("Toddler's Own Recursive Turtle Interpreter System"). During research performed in 1974–6, young children—the youngest aged 3½ years, programmed a LOGO educational robot called a Turtle. Radia has been described as a pioneer of teaching young children computer programming...
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