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 Monday, 27 August 2012

ITU regrets to announce the death of Professor John Larmouth (1941-2012), a great contributor to the work of ITU-T and a lifelong proponent of the virtues of international standardization.

John embarked on his career in computing at Cambridge University where he earned a PhD in Pure Mathematics and Computing. After another ten years at Cambridge, as a researcher and technical officer involved in the provision of the universityís computing service, John took up a position at the University of Salford, where he founded and directed the universityís Information Technology Institute and retired as Professor Emeritus of Telematics.

Alongside his academic career, Johnís active involvement in international standardization spanned thirty four years; beginning in 1978, and leading to his 2001 founding of Larmouth Training & Protocol Design Services Ltd., a consultancy specializing in ASN.1, biometrics, and computer protocol design using ASN.1.

For the past 14 years, John served as a Rapporteur in ITU-T Study Group 17 (Security), playing a crucial role in the successful development and implementation of ASN.1 (Abstract Syntax Notation One), and particularly in the notationís support for XML (Extensible Markup Language). He worked as the Editor of ITU-T Recommendations and ISO and IECInternational Standards, including ITU-T X.1082, IEC 80000-14 and several standards in ISO/IEC JTC1/SC37 (Biometrics).  He was Rapporteur and Convenor of the joint work on ASN.1, Object Identifiers (OIDs) and associated registration in ITU-T SG 17 and JTC1/SC6.

ASN.1 is a standardized notation used to describe the data structures carried by messages exchanged between communicating parts. Ratified as a standard in 1984, the industry-shaping specification languagetoday boasts a long record of reliability and interoperability, supporting the exchange of information in any form (audio, video and data) and used in applications ranging from telecommunications to parcel tracking, power distribution, banking and biomedicine. The success of ITU-Tís series of ASN.1 standards was in large part due to Johnís prowess as a writer and editor of technical standards, with the adoption of this series owing a great deal to his role in increasing the clarity of successive editions.  His book, ASN.1 Complete, is available on the web and in print.

Many standards define certain objects for which unambiguous identification is required. This is achieved through the assignment of an object identifier (OID) to an object by a Registration Authority, making the assignment available to all interested parties. The naming structure is a Ďtreeí structure that allows the identification of objects in a local or international context, without being limited by registration authorities or the number of objects they can register.  Johnís leadership in this effort included authoring the 2010 ITU Handbook on Object identifiers (OIDs) and their registration authorities.

John is survived by wife, Carol, and twins, Sarah-Jayne and James.

John will be sorely missed by all those who have had the pleasure of working with him. Those who wish to offer their condolences to Johnís family are encouraged to do so in this Condolence Book.