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The Prince of Pain
The Prize

University Communications

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Fall 1997
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As a crate was removed from a moving van, someone raised a question: Would, umm, ugh, er . . . the IMP fit into the elevator? The computer was unpacked. It was roughly the size of a refrigerator. Into the elevator car it went -- barely. On the third floor, the freight movers wheeled the machine down the hall to its new home in Room 3400. There the Sigma-7 hummed, oblivious to the massive disturbance that was about to invade its privacy. "It was a little like seeing your parents invite to dinner someone you've never met," Crocker recalls. "You don't pay much attention until you discover they intend to marry you off to this stranger."

The IMP was powered up and began running its internal diagnostics. Next, Mike Wingfield attached his "gorgeous" interface. "Everyone was ready to point the finger at the other fellow if things went wrong," Kleinrock remembers. To the group's great delight and relief, the Sigma-7 was communicating with the Interface Message Processor.

A month after the first IMP was installed at UCLA, IMP No. 2 arrived at Stanford Research Institute. Of all the milestones that had been passed so far, the installation of IMP No. 2 was the one that would lead to attaining the goal Kleinrock and so many others had set out to accomplish in the first place: Connect two disparate computers and get them talking to each other.

The moment to test the ARPANET had arrived. The first order of business was to make the connection, which meant sitting down at a teletypewriter at UCLA and typing L-O-G. This honor fell to Charlie Kline '70, M.S. '71, Ph.D. '80, a UCLA undergraduate. Kline picked up the telephone in L.A. and pressed a button that rang a bell on the IMP in Palo Alto. A researcher at the Stanford Research Institute answered the call. The quality of the connection was not very good, and both men were sitting in noisy computer rooms, which didn't help matters any.

Kline shouted into the phone: "I'm going to type an L.'" He did so. "Did you get the L'?" he asked.

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