Klinker, Eric

2013 Distinguished Alumni Award

For pioneering efficient, massive data-streaming protocols, accounting for 40% of all internet traffic and leading the industry in load-aware routing.

Eric Klinker

Eric Klinker

BSEE '91


San Francisco, California

Eric Klinker is the president and CEO of BitTorrent, an internet technology company based in San Francisco. BitTorrent’s data-streaming protocols account for 40% of all internet traffic. As CEO, Eric has played an essential role in BitTorrent’s leadership in the paradigm shift in internet communication from centralized, point-to-point communication, to peer-to-peer file sharing that does not require large central infrastructure for distribution. Using BitTorrent, each downloader shares the burden of distributing a piece of a file as it is downloaded, until each participant has the complete file. This leads to more efficient distribution of popular files.

After earning his BS in electrical engineering from Illinois, Eric attended Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, for an MSEE. Eric joined BitTorrent after his previous post as CTO and vice president of engineering at Internap, a leading provider of network optimization and content delivery solutions. Previously, Eric worked at netVmg, Excite@Home, and the Naval Research Laboratory. During the past two years, Eric has met with 25 Illinois students on the Silicon Valley trip, spending several hours talking with them in person. He has served as BitTorrent’s CEO since 2008, where he has been instrumental in formulating the company’s position on network neutrality, testifying before the FCC and other worldwide telecom regulators.