Often called the “Mother of the Internet,” Radia Perlman invented the algorithm on which spanning tree protocol (STP) is based. After gradating from MIT with an MS in mathematics in 1976, Perlman's job revolved around the task of getting computers to reliably share information. Perlman’s solution was STP, a protocol that disables paths that are not part of the tree while determining backup paths. This creates a single, active path between network nodes, and is still used to route traffic over the Internet. Most recently, Perlman has been working on a new technology called TRILL to replace STP and make better use of bandwidth.
Perlman holds over 50 patents and is has received many awards for her work.