Meet Charles Clos: The Father of Clos Networks

Around Cumulus Networks we’re constantly talking about this thing called a Clos network. If you don’t know much about what those are, check out the following descriptions from Network World and Wikipedia:

https://www.networkworld.com/article/2226122/cisco-subnet/clos-networks–what-s-old-is-new-again.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clos_network

They were a concept initially envisioned in the 1950’s by a gentleman working at Bell Labs named Charles Clos. Not a ton is known about Mr. Clos aside from the fact that his seminal paper  in “The Bell System Technical Journal ( Volume: 32, Issue: 2, March 1953 )” A study of non-blocking switching networks went on to make waves in the Data Center Computer Networking space many years later as it turns out non-blocking telephone networks have a lot to do with modern Data Center design pillars.

It bothered me that were no images to be found anywhere on the internet of Mr. Clos. So one day I decided I would get this mystery solved. I reached out to Bell Labs with an e-mail explaining my academic interest in Mr. Clos and asking for a picture. Before the end of that very day I received a response containing this image.

Internet, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Charles Clos…

10232017 - Scan - 171347
Description: three dimensional chart showing relationship of dial tone service marker occupancy and register occupancy in the #5 crossbar system l t r –mr r i wilkinson mrs r d leonard and mr c clos on the right.
Date: May 19, 1949

So there he is on the right, Charles Clos. I can sleep a little easier tonight putting a face to this much revered gentleman in the Data Center networking space.

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