Internet Research Task Force

The Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) focuses on longer term research issues related to the Internet while the parallel organization, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), focuses on the shorter term issues of engineering and standards making. The Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) promotes research of importance to the evolution of the Internet by creating focused, long-term research groups working on topics related to Internet protocols, applications, architecture and technology.

Internet Research
Task Force
PurposePromoting research into the evolution of the Internet.
Region served
IRTF Chair
Colin Perkins
Parent organization
Internet Architecture Board


The IRTF is composed of a number of focused and long-term research groups. These groups work on topics related to Internet protocols, applications, architecture and technology. Research groups have the stable long term membership needed to promote the development of research collaboration and teamwork in exploring research issues. Participation is by individual contributors, rather than by representatives of organizations. The list of current groups can be found on the IRTF's homepage.


The IRTF is managed by the IRTF chair in consultation with the Internet Research Steering Group (IRSG). The IRSG membership includes the IRTF chair, the chairs of the various Research Groups and other individuals (members at large) from the research community selected by the IRTF chair. The chair of the IRTF is appointed by the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) for a two-year term. These individuals have chaired the IRTF:

  • David D. Clark, 1989–1992
  • Jon Postel, 1992–1995
  • Abel Weinrib, 1995–1999
  • Erik Huizer, 1999–2001
  • Vern Paxson, 2001–2005
  • Aaron Falk, 2005–2011
  • Lars Eggert, 2011–2017
  • Allison Mankin, 2017–2019
  • Colin Perkins, 2019-Present

The IRTF chair is responsible for ensuring that research groups produce coherent, coordinated, architecturally consistent and timely output as a contribution to the overall evolution of the Internet architecture. In addition to the detailed tasks related to research groups outlined below, the IRTF chair may also from time to time arrange for topical workshops attended by the IRSG and perhaps other experts in the field.

The RFC Editor publishes documents from the IRTF and its research groups on the IRTF stream. The detailed IRTF research group guidelines and procedures are described in RFC 2014. The procedures for publishing documents on the IRTF RFC stream are defined in RFC 5743. The concept of RFC streams is defined in RFC 4844.

See also

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