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and Kleinrock conceived of the Measurement Center as an outfit that
would be responsible for performance analysis -- a sort of digital
test track like those on which fearless drivers push the outer limits
of high-performance cars. Kleinrock and his group were in charge
of gathering data -- total network response time, traffic density,
delays and capacity -- the measures needed to evaluate how the network
would perform. Kleinrock was a theoretician; his speciality was
simulation and modeling. Through his analysis and simulations, he
had come as close as one could to predicting the ways in which computer
networks might perform without actually having a network to run.
He welcomed the chance to put his theories into practice.
1968, both Vint Cerf and Steve Crocker were back at UCLA, ensconced
in the labs at Boelter Hall. As an undergraduate, Crocker had worked,
as he puts it, "at the bottom of the totem pole" on one of the first
networking projects ever. The goal of that project, overseen by
Professor Gerald Estrin, a longtime faculty member who had an interest
in digital computing, had been to connect three existing computer
centers on campus: UCLA's main computing facility, the medical center
and the business school. All operated IBM 7090/7094 machines of
the period but, as it turned out, machine compatibilities weren't
the main obstacle to success. Human clashes were. To their chagrin,
Estrin's group discovered that each of the UCLA computing centers
had developed its own culture, programming style, policies, quirks
and egos. As a result, their project fizzled: The people involved
simply couldn't agree on a common approach to linking the centers.
now, with Crocker and Cerf as members of his 40-member UCLA team,
Kleinrock mounted a second, epochal venture into computer networking.
He put Crocker in charge of software and added a new player, a young
man named Jon Postel ‘66, M.S. ‘68, Ph.D. ‘74. Postel was the resident
eccentric. He sported a long, bushy beard, wore sandals year-round
and never put on a necktie in his life. Unlike the others on the
project, who were mainstream academics, Postel had developed his
interest in computers at a local community college. Like the others,
Postel was passionate about computers.