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UCLA

"Fathers of the Internet" named to new Internet Hall of Fame

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By Mary Daily

Published Sep 11, 2012 8:00 AM


In 1969, Professor Leonard Kleinrock and Vinton Cerf M.S. ’70, Ph.D. ’72, who was his grad student, transmitted the first message between computers hundreds of miles apart.

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Internet pioneer Leonard Kleinrock stands with an Interface Message Processor, which was used to develop the Internet.

On October 29, 1969, something happened in Boelter Hall that changed the world. On that day a team of computer scientists, including grad student Vinton Cerf M.S.’70, Ph.D.’72 and led by Professor Leonard Kleinrock, transmitted the first message between two computers hundreds of miles apart. It was the birth of the Internet.

Now, 43 years later, Kleinrock, a distinguished computer science professor in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, are among the first inductees into the Internet Hall of Fame. Administered by the Internet Society, the Hall of Fame recognizes leading visionaries who contributed to the development and advancement of the global network. The names of Kleinrock and Cerf were among those announced in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 23, 2012.

Both men previously received the Charles Stark Draper Award as “fathers of the Internet.” Kleinrock pioneered the mathematical theory of packet networks that underpins the Internet and was a developer of ARPANET, which grew into the Internet. A month before the historic transmission, his lab’s UCLA Host computer became the first ARPANET node. Cerf, who received a master’s degree and Ph. D. in computer science, worked with Kleinrock to develop ARPANET.

The message the team intended to send (the recipient was the Stanford Research Institute) was “Login,” but the system crashed after the “O.” “Hence,” remembers Kleinrock, “the first message on the Internet was ‘LO’ – as in ‘Lo and behold!’ We didn’t plan it, but we couldn’t have come up with a better message: short and prophetic.”

Cerf recalls that he “jumped and shouted, ‘It works!’”

Today, the refrigerator-sized Interface Message Processor (the “IMP”) that made the transmission is housed in Boelter Hall, in the Kleinrock Internet Heritage Site and Archive, a historical reconstruction of the birthplace of the Internet. Visitors to campus can see where it all started.

Read about the 40th anniversary of the Internet and what some of UCLA’s top thinkers predicted for the next 40 years.

Kleinrock Internet Heritage Site and Archive, 3420 Boelter Hall, 420 Westwood Plaza. Free. For more information, see www.internethistory.ucla.edu. To arrange a visit, send an e-mail to Internet History.

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