Jeff Rulifson

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Jeff Rulifson
Jeff Rulifson in 2008.jpg
Jeff Rulifson in 2008
Born 1941
(1941-08-20) August 20, 1941 (age 80)
Nationality American
Fields Computer science
Institutions Stanford Research Institute

Xerox PARC

Alma mater University of Washington
Stanford University
Known for Development of the oN-Line System (NLS)

Johns Frederick (Jeff) Rulifson (born August 20, 1941) is an American computer scientist.

Early life and education

Johns Frederick Rulifson was born August 20, 1941 in Bellefontaine, Ohio. His father was Erwin Charles Rulifson and mother was Virginia Helen Johns. He married Janet Irving on June 8, 1963 and had two children.[1] Rulifson graduated with a BS in mathematics from the University of Washington in 1966.[1]


Rulifson joined the Augmentation Research Center, at the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in 1966. He led the software team that implemented the oN-Line System (NLS), a system that foreshadowed many future developments in modern computing and networking.[2] Although Douglas Engelbart was the founder and leader of ARC, Rulifson's innovative programming was essential to the realization of Engelbart's vision.

Rulifson was SRI's representative to the "network working group" in 1968, which led to the first connection on the ARPANET.[3] He described the Decode-Encode Language (DEL), which was designed to allow remote use of NLS over ARPANET.[4] Although never used, the idea was small "programs" would be down-loaded to enhance user interaction. This concept was fully developed in Sun Microsystems's Java programming language almost 30 years later.[5]

Rulifson earned a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University in 1973.[6] Rulifson left SRI to join the System Sciences Laboratory (SSL) within Xerox PARC in 1973. While at PARC, he worked on implementing distributed office systems. He worked for ROLM in 1980 as an engineering manager. In 1985 he joined the company Syntelligence in Sunnyvale, California.[1] He worked for Sun Microsystems Laboratories, in Ivan Sutherland's lab since 1987. Sun was purchased by Oracle Corporation in 2010.


In 1990, Rulifson won the Association for Computing Machinery's Software System Award for implementing groundbreaking innovations such as hypertext, outline processors, and video conferencing.[7]

In 1994, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Johns Frederick (Jeff) Rulifson". Biographical Sketches. Stanford University. November 9, 1996. Retrieved April 15, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Johns Frederick (Jeff) Rulifson". SRI Hall of fame. SRI International. Retrieved 2013-06-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Steve Crocker (April 7, 1969), "Host Software", RFC 1, Network Working Group |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Jeff Rulifson (June 2, 1969), "DEL", RFC 5, Network Working Group |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. RFC Editor, et a. (April 7, 1999), "30 Years of RFCs", RFC 2555, Network Working Group |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Jeff Rulifson; Jan Derksen; Richard Waldinger (November 1973). "QA4, A Procedural Calculus for Intuitive Reasoning". SRI AI Center Technical Note 73.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "1990 – Jeff Rulifson: NLS". Software system award citation. Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved April 15, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links