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The Prince of Pain
The Prize

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Fall 1997
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Then, with only a few months left before Kleinrock and the UCLA team were to accept delivery of IMP No. 1, a thick envelope arrived in the mail from Cambridge. Inside the package was a newly written set of specifications for connecting host computers to the soon-to-be-delivered IMP. The ARPANET at last seemed to be falling into place.

Kleinrock and Crocker asked technicians at Scientific Data Systems, makers of the Sigma-7, to build the interface hardware for the host-to-IMP connection. The company's response was discouraging: It would take months and probably not be finished in time for the IMP's arrival. Moreover, Scientific Data wanted tens of thousands of dollars to do the job.

So when Mike Wingfield '67, M.S. '69, Ph.D. '72, a UCLA grad student techno- whiz kid, said he'd like to take a crack at solving the problem, Kleinrock figured, "Why not?" Wingfield plunged into the task and one week before the Interface Message Processor was scheduled to arrive, he had the hardware built, debugged and ready to go. "It was," Crocker recalls, "a gorgeous piece of work."

Now Crocker looked at the calendar. He counted on having at least one extra day to complete preparatory work on the network, since September 1 was Labor Day. He'd heard that the folks in Cambridge were having internal timing problems with the IMP. Timing bugs could be nasty and, Crocker hoped, might buy him the extra week he needed. But an excited call from Kleinrock advised Crocker that UCLA's Interface Message Processor was about to be put on a plane and would arrive in Los Angeles on August 30 -- two days early.

Suddenly, the deadline for launching the ARPANET lurched toward the UCLA team like a madman with a bomb.

On the Saturday before Labor Day, 1969, about a dozen people -- Kleinrock, Crocker, Postel, Wingfield, Cerf and a handful of curiosity seekers -- gathered on the loading dock of Boelter Hall. Champagne bottles were popped open: The IMP was arriving.

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