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The Prince of Pain
The Prize

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Fall 1997
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But university researchers were also pushing their machines in entirely new directions. Real-time computing, time-sharing systems and computer networking were considered dramatic new tools for expanding human intellectual reach. These were areas, researchers like Professor Leonard Kleinrock discovered, where you could have some fun and make a difference, too.

Kleinrock had joined the UCLA computer science faculty in 1963, having developed the underlying principles for data networking while a Ph.D. student at MIT. His tight bond and intellectual alliance with Lawrence Roberts, a classmate from MIT, would lead directly to the government's selection of UCLA as the Kitty Hawk of computer networking.

In 1967 Roberts had moved to Washington, D.C., to take charge of creating the ARPANET, a project dedicated to finding a way to transmit huge chunks of digital data between computers in a number of smaller digital bundles. Funding for the project -- a million dollars -- had been approved by the Pentagon in 1966. This "packet-switching" network, as it came to be called, had been pioneered by Kleinrock and was to revolutionize communications by the decade's end. "It was clear to me that high-speed packet-switched networks were exactly the right way for computers to talk to one another," recalls Kleinrock. "But in those days the hot technology was time sharing. I had to wait for conditions to ripen before my ideas would catch on."

When it came time to choose node one for the ARPANET-to-be, Roberts had no trouble finding the one spot on the map where he knew it could work: UCLA. On the Westwood campus was Kleinrock, the man who had influenced his thinking on network technology. Kleinrock promptly received a sizeable grant and, in 1968, established both a research group and the Network Measurement Center at UCLA.

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