University News

Internet Began 35 Years Ago at UCLA ; Forum to Mark Anniversary Oct. 29


Thisyear marks the 35th anniversary of the birth of the Internet at UCLA.

UCLAwill celebrate this historic event with an exciting, insightful daylong forumon Friday, Oct. 29. Many of the Internet's early pioneers, as well as some oftoday's most thought‑provoking and influential industry leaders andrising stars will offer their perspectives on how the Internet came to be whatit is today, and what it will be like tomorrow.

"TheInternet's founding fathers, its current heavy hitters and its young visionarieswill all be in one room together to talk about this technology's impact onsociety," said Leonard Kleinrock, a computer scientist in the UCLA HenrySamueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.

UCLAbecame the first node of what was then known as the ARPANET on Sept. 2, 1969,when Kleinrock led a team of engineers in establishing the first networkconnection between two computers, ushering in a new method of globalcommunication that has changed the course of business, politics, entertainment,education and social interaction forever.

Amonth later, a second node was added at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) andon Oct. 29 the first host-to-host message was launched from UCLA.

"Whenwe sent that first message, there weren't any reporters, cameras, taperecorders or scribes to document that major event," Kleinrock said. "We knew wewere creating an important new technology that we expected would be of use to asegment of the population, but we had no idea how truly momentous an event itwas."

Computernetworks were still in their infancy at that time, and though Kleinrockpredicted the spread of "computer utilities" servicing homes and offices acrossthe country, even he is surprised at how pervasive the Internet has become.

"WhatI missed was that my 97-year-old mother would be using the Internet today, andshe is," Kleinrock said.

Kleinrock'sresearch into the data networking technology that led to packet switchingprovided the technological foundation upon which the Internet is built. He wrotethe first paper on the subject in 1962 as a graduate student at MIT, and, in asubsequent book published in 1964, he showed how packet switching could work ata time when most communications experts claimed that packet switching was notpossible.

Kleinrockwill be joined by other key Internet pioneers at the Oct. 29 anniversary eventat UCLA, including Lawrence G. Roberts, Robert E. Kahn and Vinton G. Cerf.Roberts was the driving force behind the funding and development of the ARPANETwhile director of information processing techniques for ARPA. Cerf, Kleinrock'sformer graduate student, and Kahn were co-inventors of TCP/IP, the basiccommunications protocols that are commonly still used today.

Attendingthe 35th anniversary of the Internet will be representatives from Broadcom,Microsoft, Intel, HP, MCI and The New York Times. Broadcom and NetZero areevent sponsors. UCLA has established a Web site with more information at

TheARPANET — which later became the Internet — was funded by the Advanced ResearchProjects Agency (ARPA), created in 1958 to support scientific research in theUnited States.

ARPAhad been supporting a number of computer scientists around the country in the1960s, each of whom had unique information and capabilities on their individualcomputers. ARPA officials reasoned that by connecting the existing computerstogether via a data network, the community of scientists would be able to gainaccess to each other's computers and be able to communicate more effectively.

Ateam of researchers connected the first host computer to the network switch,known as an interface message processor, on Sept. 2, and by the end of the daybits began moving between the UCLA computer and the interface messageprocessor. Then, on Oct. 29, the first Internet message was sent — but notwithout a hitch.

"Allwe wanted to do was to login from our host computer at UCLA to the SRI hostcomputer," Kleinrock said. "We needed to transmit the letters 'log' to SRI, atwhich point the SRI host would add the letters 'in' to complete the word'login.'"

TheUCLA researchers set up a telephone connection in addition to the data networkconnection so that the programmers at each end could talk to each other andreport what they were seeing at their end of the connection.

TheUCLA team began by sending the "L" and asked, "Did you get the 'L'?" The replyfrom SRI: "Yes."

Theythen sent the "O" and asked, "Did you get the 'O'?" Again came the reply fromthe Stanford programmer: "Yes." However, when the UCLA engineers attempted tosend the letter "G," the host computer at Stanford crashed.

"Asa result, history now records how clever we were to send such a prophetic firstmessage, namely 'lo,'" Kleinrock said.

Formore information about the 35th anniversary of the Internet event, go to



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