Dr Willie Black

Dr Black has been involved in computer networking and communications since the late 1970s having written X.25 and file transfer software in those early pre-Internet days and having been involved in technical, consultancy, management and leadership roles since then.

Most recently, he was the founder, first Managing Director and Chairman of Nominet UK, the national registry for all domain names ending .uk. Nominet was established in 1996 as the Internet was starting its journey from an academic, defence and research network to the global industry of today. Dr Black pioneered the development of the not-for-profit country-code top-level domain registry model, which has subsequently been copied by several domain name Registries throughout the world. During his time with Nominet, the organization grew from 2 to 140 staff, and total registrations from 25,000 to over 4 million. Dr Black took a leading role in spearheading Nominet's strategy and policy development and also in its relationships with the UK and other governments, and with international organizations and agencies such as ICANN and the ITU. For two years, he was also chairman of CENTR, the Council of European National Top level Domain registries, formed in April 1998 to provide a mechanism for these national registries to exchange information and develop best practice.

He left Nominet in December 2004 to develop Broomfield Associates. He has an interest in helping small growing companies in the technology sector. He is currently chairman of UKIF Limited, which trades as UKNOF - the UK Network Operators' Forum. He has several clients for whom he has implemented web-based applications such as online booking systems.

Dr Black graduated in mathematics and astronomy in 1971 and was awarded his doctorate in numerical methods applied to dynamical systems in 1974, both at the University of Glasgow. He has been involved with large-scale computer networking since the 1970s and has chaired several national and international committees dealing with computer communications standards. Until 1987 he worked in the Oxford University Department of Nuclear Physics. In 1991 he became head of the team operating the extensive Joint Academic Network (JANET) in the UK, and in 1994 was appointed programme director of the United Kingdom Education and Research Networking Association, now called JANET (UK).

From 1990 until 1996 he chaired the Technical Assembly of the European Workshop for Open Systems (now superseded by the CEN ISSS), which was based in Brussels, hosted more than a dozen highly technical working groups and project teams, and provided a consensus-based mechanism for publishing technical agreements in the Open Systems area.