Brian Reid (computer scientist)


Brian Keith Reid (born 1949) is an American computer scientist. He developed an early use of a markup language in his 1980 doctoral dissertation. His other principal interest has been computer networking and the development of the Internet.

Brian Reid
Born1949 (age 74–75)
Alma materCarnegie Mellon University
Known forScribe
Internet firewalls
Usenet maps
AwardsGrace Murray Hopper Award (1982)
Presidential Young Investigator Award
Scientific career
InstitutionsStanford University
Digital Equipment Corporation
ThesisScribe: A Document Specification Language and its Compiler (1980)
Doctoral advisorBob Sproull

Education edit

Reid received his B.S. in physics from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1970,[1] and then worked in industry for five years before entering graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was awarded a PhD in computer science in 1980.

His dissertation research developed the Scribe word processing system, for which he received the Association for Computing Machinery's Grace Murray Hopper Award in 1982.[2] Reid presented a paper describing Scribe in the same conference session in 1981 in which Charles Goldfarb presented Generalized Markup Language (GML), the immediate predecessor of SGML.[3]

Career edit

From 1980–1987, he was an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University in the computer systems laboratory. There he was a recipient of the Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1984, working along with other new faculty such as John L. Hennessy, David R. Cheriton, and Mark Horowitz.[4] Along with faculty such as Susan Owicki, Forest Baskett, and James H. Clark, his research concerned the connection of Stanford to the Internet, and the development of the SUN workstation.[5] As the Stanford University Network attracted attacks, he became interested in possible network defenses.[6][7]

He left Stanford in 1987, he was immediately hired by the Digital Equipment Corporation, first in the Western Research Laboratory (DEC WRL) under Forest Baskett in Palo Alto, California. Reid and Paul Vixie developed one of the first connections between a corporate network and the Internet, known as "Gatekeeper" after the character in the Ghostbusters film.[8] The protection techniques developed evolved into what is now called a network firewall. Some early Internet attackers (such as Kevin Mitnick) would impersonate Reid in telephone calls in attempts to gain trust.[8][9]

He experimented with electronic publishing with his USENET Cookbook project. In 1987, he and John Gilmore created the alt.* hierarchy on Usenet. He also created and ran the "USENET readership report", which sampled the reading habits of volunteer news readers, tried to extrapolate them across the entire population of the USENET, and reported them monthly to the news.lists newsgroup.

From 1986 thru 1995, Reid produced a variety of maps of the USENET in PostScript, showing both its geographical reach and its volumes of traffic flow.[10][11]

In 1995 he became director of his own group, the Network Systems Laboratory (DEC NSL). The DEC NSL developed one of the largest Internet exchange points as the Internet became available for commercial use in the 1990s.[12] One of his employees was Anita Borg, who founded the group Systers and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing while at NSL.[13] DEC NSL and WRL developed AltaVista, one of the first web search engines. In 1998, he was invited to give a keynote talk at the Markup Technologies conference, discussing 20 years of history in the technology.[3]

In 1999, he left DEC to work at Bell Labs' Silicon Valley site until it was shut down. In February 2001, he taught for one year at the Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley campus of CMU.[14]

Google edit

In June 2002,[1] Reid became director of operations at Google. His only written review was from Wayne Rosing, which was positive. In October 2003 he was moved to a program with no funding and no staff, while his former duties were taken over by Urs Hölzle, who was 15 years younger. He was fired by Larry Page (who was 30 at the time) in February 2004, after being told he was not a "cultural fit" by Rosing, and that his ideas were "too old to matter" by Hölzle, according to Reid.[15] It was nine days before the company's initial public offering (IPO) was announced, allegedly costing him 119,000 stock options with a strike price of $0.30,[14] which would have been worth approximately $10 million at the $85 IPO price. Reid estimated that given later appreciation, his unvested stock options would have been worth at least $45 million if he had stayed there.[16]

Legal case edit

After retaining Duane Morris as counsel, Reid proceeded to sue Google in July 2004 for discrimination on the basis of age and disability.[17] He was 52 years old and had been diagnosed as having diabetes while at Google.[14] Google retained Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, which defended the case on the grounds that Reid was allegedly told he was not a "cultural fit".[18] In September 2005, the Santa Clara Superior Court initially granted summary judgment against him.[19][20] On October 4, 2007, the California Sixth District Court of Appeal overturned the lower court's verdict and allowed the lawsuit to proceed.[21] Google appealed that decision to the California Supreme Court, which granted review in February 2008.[22][23]

Case review edit

The court granted review to decide two questions, one substantive and one procedural: (1) should an employee be allowed to sue an employer for hostile "stray remarks" by employees who were not directly involved in the allegedly discriminatory decision at issue; and (2) are specific objections to evidence at the summary judgment stage waived when the trial court fails to rule on specific objections despite oral requests that the trial court do so. The parties thoroughly briefed the issues on the merits; next, the court sat on the case for more than a year; then asked for further supplemental briefing from the parties in April 2010 on the procedural question; and finally scheduled oral argument for May 26, 2010.

On August 5, 2010, in an opinion by Justice Ming Chin, the court affirmed the Court of Appeal decision in favor of Reid and remanded to the lower courts for further proceedings. The Court refused to adopt the "stray remarks" doctrine pioneered by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, because remarks by non-decisionmakers may be circumstantial evidence relevant to discriminatory actions (in the sense that hostile co-workers can manipulate a supervisor); and written objections to evidence are preserved for appeal regardless of whether the trial court rules upon them or whether counsel even argues them orally before the court. In other words, Google won on the procedural question, but Reid won on the substantive question, meaning that he would be able to introduce a much broader range of evidence of Google's alleged atmosphere of discrimination to the trier of fact.[24]

The case attracted media attention, with briefs filed by the AARP on Reid's behalf and the California Employment Law Council for Google.[19][25] The case was settled out of court for undisclosed terms.[16]

From July 2005 to 2019, Reid worked at the Internet Systems Consortium, with various titles including head of engineering, operations, and communication.[1][26]

Personal life edit

Reid is an active photographer and has sponsored the Leica User's Group, an e-mail discussion list, for almost two decades.

Reid is a practicing Anglican and president of the Society of Archbishop Justus.[27] He is an editor of Anglicans Online and sat on the board of Doane Academy, an Episcopal Pre K-12 school in Burlington, New Jersey.[28]

References edit


  1. ^ a b c Reid, Brian. "Brian Reid". LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  2. ^ "Brian K. Reid". Grace Murray Hopper Award citation. ACM. 1982. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Brian Reid (November 19, 1998). "20 Years of Abstract Markup - Any Progress?". Keynote address at. Slide presentation (PowerPoint)
  4. ^ "Faculty Distinctions". Stanford School of Engineering. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  5. ^ Forest Baskett; James Clark; John Hennessy; Susan Owicki; Brian Reid (March 1981). "Research in VLSI systems design and architecture" (PDF). DARPA project report, Stanford Technical Report CSL-TR-81-201. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  6. ^ Brian Reid (October 1986). "Lessons from the UNIX breakins at Stanford". ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes. 11 (5): 29–35. doi:10.1145/382298.382364. S2CID 34977980.
  7. ^ Karen A. Frenkel (October 1987). "Profiles in computing: Brian K. Reid: a graphics tale of a hacker". Communications of the ACM. 30 (10): 820–823. doi:10.1145/30408.30413. S2CID 35923555.
  8. ^ a b Katie Hafner; John Markoff (November 1, 1995). Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier, Revised. Simon and Schuster. pp. 109–110, 118–125. ISBN 978-0-684-81862-7.
  9. ^ Tsutomu Shimomura; John Markoff (1996). Take-down: the pursuit and capture of Kevin Mitnick, America's most wanted computer outlaw—by the man who did it. Hyperion. pp. 233–234. ISBN 978-0-7868-6210-8.
  10. ^ Martin Dodge (2001-05-23). "Flowing From Site to Site - Brian Reid's USENET Traffic Flow Maps (circa 1986-95)". Mappa Mundi Magazine. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  11. ^ Martin Dodge (February 2007). "An Atlas of Cyberspaces: Historical Maps of Computer Networks". Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  12. ^ John Markoff (December 8, 1997). "Old Man Bandwidth; Will Commerce Flourish Where Rivers of Wire Converge?". The New York Times. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  13. ^ Katie Hafner (April 10, 2003). "Anita Borg, 54, Trailblazer For Women in Computer Field". New York Times. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c Joris Evers (July 24, 2004). "Ex-employee alleges Google discriminates". The Industry Standard. Archived from the original on May 20, 2009. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  15. ^ Bob Egelko (October 4, 2007). "'Old guy' gets another chance in Google age-discrimination suit". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  16. ^ a b Aaron Glantz (January 28, 2012). "Old Techies Never Die; They Just Can't Get Hired as an Industry Moves On". The New York Times. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  17. ^ Matt Hines (July 26, 2004). "Google hit with age discrimination suit". ZD Net News. Archived from the original on February 13, 2005. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  18. ^ H. J. Hill (May 6, 2009). "Cultural Fit – Age Discrimination in the Internet Era". Get Legal. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Google Wins Age Bias Lawsuit". CBS News. September 30, 2005. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  20. ^ "News bite: Google prevails in age discrimination case". Employment Brief - News bite. Fenwick & West LLP. February 8, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  21. ^ "Court sides with 'old fuddy-duddy' in case against Google". Central Valley Business Times. October 4, 2007. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  22. ^ Jon-Erik G. Storm (February 5, 2008). "Reid v. Google Review Granted". Storm's Employment Law blog. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  23. ^ Supreme Court of the State of California (December 11, 2007). "Brian Reid v. Google Inc. Appeal from the Superior Court of the County of Santa Clara" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 23, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  24. ^ "Reid v. Google, Inc. case 50 Cal. 4th 512, 235 P.3d 988, 113 Cal. Rptr. 3d 327". Case documents. Stanford University School of Law Library. August 5, 2010.
  25. ^ Mike Swift (August 5, 2010). "Age-bias case vs. Google can move forward, state Supreme Court rules". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  26. ^ "2019 in Review". 13 January 2020.
  27. ^ Society of Archbishop Justus (2003). "Brian Keith Reid, PhD". Society of Archbishop Justus. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  28. ^ "Board of Trustees | Doane Academy". Doane Academy: Board of Trustees. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015.


  • Reid, Brian K. (1980). "A high-level approach to computer document formatting". Proceedings of the 7th ACM SIGPLAN-SIGACT symposium on Principles of programming languages - POPL '80. ACM. pp. 24–31. doi:10.1145/567446.567449. ISBN 978-0-89791-011-8. S2CID 3095110.
  • Reid, Brian (1991). "Reflections on some recent widespread computer break-ins". Computers under attack: Intruders, worms, and viruses. ACM. pp. 145–149. doi:10.1145/102616.102626. ISBN 978-0-201-53067-4.
  • Reid, Brian (February 1987). "Viewpoint". Communications. 30 (2). ACM: 103–105. doi:10.1145/12527.315716.