Photo of Steve McCanne

Computer & electronics hardware

Steve McCanne

Year Honored



"Steve McCanne’s career as a rock star fizzled in high school. But noodling on a synthesizer did spark his interest in digital signal processing, which blossomed into graduate work at Berkeey National Laboratory. There he helped his mentor, Van Jacobson, invent the “Internet multicast backbone” (Mbone), which led to Internet standards for streaming media and enables people at scattered locations to collaborate using video, audio and a whiteboard. Among Mbone’s first users: NASA engineers. In1998,McCanne cofounded FastForward Networks and pioneered the first scalable techniques for live Internet broadcasting. In 2000 Internet giant Inktomi bought FastForward for $1.3 billion to get its multimedia tools—and McCanne, now chief technology officer. Inktomi, in Foster City, CA, performs cataloguing and searching for huge portals like America Online and MSN. McCanne is now devising systems to let big businesses, including Ford Motor, McDonald’s and Merrill Lynch use video webcasting throughout their own networks. Someday he’d like to write a book about “how the Internet really works.”"