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Dale Finkelson

Dale Finkelson photo Title: Senior Program and Services Manager
Division: Network Services
Areas of Responsibility: Advanced Global Networking
Years in Advanced Technology: 30
Best Known For: Patience

Dale has worked in the university high-performance networking community since the mid-80s, a period during which the meaning of high performance has changed dramatically. Dale graduated from Drake University with a degree in philosophy. Later he earned Master’s degrees in philosophy and computer science from the University of Nebraska, where he worked on both campus and regional networking for 24 years. Dale joined Internet2 in 2009 and has increasingly focused on global connectivity and strategy throughout his time here.

How did you get involved in the field of advanced networking/technology?

Dale was a Unix systems analyst in the mid-1980s working for the Computer Science Department at the University of Nebraska. In that role he was exposed to early attempts at networking, activities like Bitnet, DECNET, CSnet, and others. As he began attending early IETF meetings he was able to participate in the development of early networking technology.

What is your proudest accomplishment in the Internet2 community?

Dale was a key contributor who worked with Doug Gale on creating MIDnet, the first regional network that was a part of NSFnet. Dale, Doug and a great team of collaborators were able to bring the NSFnet capability to the Great Plains. This led to a long collaboration around connectivity and science in that region that flourishes today. Also, Dale counts acquiring a dark fiber resource to link the University of Nebraska and development of an early Science DMZ for the university—before the term was coined—as a great point of pride.

What is the most common technical issue you deal with and how has Internet2 worked to solve it?

Packet loss on global networks occurs too frequently and results in poor connectivity. This is a greater problem in our global connectivity, where bandwidth can be constrained, than in our domestic network, where bandwidth is more abundant. The work on global architecture to create sustainable operational models has greatly helped with working out those problems. Equally the work on perfSONAR, both in development and deployment, has made it much easier to find and ultimately solve those problems.

What is your biggest challenge in working on global activity?

Perhaps the biggest challenge is understanding and adapting to the diverse needs and capabilities of our global partners. In many parts of the world the technical and regulatory capabilities are far different from what we have come to expect in the United States. As a result, building the sort of infrastructure we have come to expect can be far more challenging than doing so in the US.

What is your favorite part of being an Internet2 employee?

The breadth of activity in Internet2 is a constant challenge. And the community we work for is a wonderfully creative and interesting group of people. As they continue to expand their goals for their organizations at Internet2, we need to devise new and innovative ways to allow them to fulfill those goals. I enjoy very much being able to find ways to say yes to our community when they make requests. Saying yes implies we have been able to find a solution, and that is always satisfying.