UCLA 100: Internet 2.0
On October 29, 1969, UCLA Distinguished Professor of Computer Science Leonard Kleinrock and student programmer Charley Kline ’70, M.S. ’71, Ph.D. ’80 gave birth to the Internet. UCLA was the first “node” on the ARPANET, a research network that was funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense. At 10:30 p.m., in 3420 Boelter Hall, the two men attempted to connect to a computer at Stanford Research Institute, the second node. If they could type LOG, they were in. They sent “L” and “O,” but the SRI computer crashed before the “G.” “The first message ever on the ARPANET/ Internet was ‘LO,’ as in ‘lo and behold,’” Kleinrock says. “We didn’t plan it, but we couldn’t have come up with a better message: short and prophetic.”
From that beginning, the Internet spread across the globe, upending technology, culture and human behavior. Kleinrock, who pioneered theories that undergird the Internet, trained a cadre of graduate students in a collegial environment.
UCLA researchers stress-tested early networks and explored the wireless world. Major companies still mine hundreds of UCLA-developed papers on topics such as enhanced efficiency of Internet protocols. The late Professor Mario Gerla M.S. ’70, Ph.D. ’73, an ARPANET pioneer, worked on wired and wireless networks as director of UCLA’s Center for Autonomous Intelligent Networks and the Network Research Lab.
Recently, Kleinrock established the UCLA Connection Lab, where researchers examine anything related to connectivity. Professor Lixia Zhang is currently investigating named data networks, a potentially more efficient way to find data on the Internet.
Next fall, luminaries from the Internet world will gather at UCLA to mark the 50th anniversary of the Internet’s birth. “The vigor, the energy, the talent and drive are still well-established here, but we’re part of a much larger culture now, which is the nature of the Internet,” Kleinrock says. “You reach out across the world.”