Douglas E. Comer
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (courtesy)
Joined department: Fall 1976
Houghton College (1971)
The Pennsylvania State University (1976)
Professor Comer is an internationally recognized expert on computer networking and the TCP/IP protocols. He has been working with TCP/IP and the Internet since the late 1970s. Comer established his reputation as a principal investigator on several early Internet research projects. He served as chairman of the CSNET technical committee, chairman of the DARPA Distributed Systems Architecture Board, and was a member of the Internet Activities Board (the group of researchers who built the Internet).
Comer has created courses on computer networks, the Internet, TCP/IP protocols, and operating systems for a variety of audiences, including in-depth courses for engineers and less technical courses for others; he continues to teach at various industries and networking conferences around the world. In addition, Comer consults for private industry on the design of networks and networking equipment.
Professor Comer is well-known for his series of ground breaking textbooks on computer networks, the Internet, computer operating systems, and computer architecture. His books have been translated into sixteen languages, and are widely used in both industry and academia. Comer's three-volume series Internetworking With TCP/IP is often cited as an authoritative reference for the Internet protocols. More significantly, Comer's texts have been used by fifteen of the top sixteen Computer Science Departments listed in the U.S. News and World Report ranking.
Comer's research is experimental. He and his students design and implement working prototypes of large, complex systems. The performance of the resulting prototypes are then measured. The operating system and protocol software that has resulted from Comer's research has been used by industry in a variety of products.
For twenty years, Professor Comer served as editor-in-chief of the research journal Software--Practice And Experience, published by John Wiley & Sons. Between 2003 and 2009, Comer was on leave from Purdue and worked at Cisco Systems, where he served as Cisco's first VP of Research. Comer is a Fellow of the ACM and the recipient of numerous teaching awards.