Leonard Kleinrock had been a nerdy kid who worked his way through night school to reach MIT. There, he created a mathematical theory to enable computers to “talk to each other.” 

In 1963, he brought his groundbreaking research to the engineering department at UCLA. Six years later, he acquired for UCLA the first node on the ARPANET funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. As soon as Stanford Research Institute got the second node, Kleinrock and his students logged on. The system crashed, cutting their message short, but not before a bit of it reached Stanford. It was the start of the internet. 

Over the years, thousands of young scientists and aspiring techies have clamored to study under the soft-spoken engineer. Many have gone on to illustrious academic careers, teaching thousands of others and spreading Kleinrock’s visionary gospel of possibility around the world.


Edward Coffman | ’56, M.S. ’62, Ph.D. ’66 

Columbia University 

Kleinrock’s first Ph.D. student (’66). Retired from teaching in 2008, but still active in Columbia’s electrical engineering department. Has an algorithm (Coffman-Graham) named for him. Frequently cited. Self-proclaimed Anglophile.


Mario Gerla | M.S. ’70, Ph.D. ’73 


(Died 2019.) Considered one of the world’s top 100 computer science researchers. Frequent visitor to Italy, his homeland; knighted by Italy’s president in 2002. Noted marathoner and swimmer; swam in six of the major seven seas.



Fouad Tobagi | M.S. ’71, Ph.D. ’74 

Stanford University

Electrical engineer. Born in Beirut. Research focus includes network control mechanisms and design of wireless networks. Frequently cited; 1981 paper on communications systems considered highly influential.


Simon Lam | M.S. ’70, Ph.D. ’74 

University of Texas, Austin 

Born in Macau while it was still a Portuguese colony; raised in Hong Kong. Known for invention of secure sockets for internet applications. Started at IBM. Taught at UT Austin 1977–2018. Influential in early internet security. Elected to National Academy of Engineering.



Parviz Kermani | Ph.D. ’77 

University of Massachusetts, Amherst 

One of three inventors of the MENTOR routing algorithm. Inventor at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center for more than 30 years. Seminal paper on “Cut-Through Switching” in 1978 (republished 2014). Chaired INFOCOM 2002. Once said of Kleinrock: “His teaching and friendship changed me.”

Yechiam Yemini | Ph.D. ’79 

Columbia University 

Focuses on computational biology. Co-founder of Turbonomic, Boston-based software company. Has served as director of several high-tech companies. Frequently cited. Gourmet cook and sand sculptor.



John Silvester | Ph.D. ’80 


Professor of electrical and computer engineering. First research areas: computer architecture and networks. Served as president of University of Southern California faculty senate. Expert on the next generation of the internet. Speaks Portuguese.


Mart L. Molle | M.S. ’78, Ph.D. ’81 

University of California, Riverside 

Queueing theorist. At University of Toronto for a decade before joining UC Riverside. Two U.S. patents; in-demand expert witness in ethernet-related IP cases. Keen interest in applying analytical modeling techniques to practical problems.


Jack Zeigler | M.S. ’69, Ph.D. ’71 

Norwegian University of Life Sciences, As, Norway 

Retired. 1971 dissertation was sponsored by a National Defense Department grant. In 2014, published Introduksjon til Informatikk, which included anecdotes about his ARPANET experience at UCLA.


Farouk Kamoun | M.S. ’72, Ph.D. ’76 

Sesame University, Tunis, Tunisia 

Professor emeritus at l’École Nationale des Sciences de l’Informatique (ENSI). President of Sesame University since 2011. Speaks Arabic, English and French. Passionate advocate for potential of African “smart cities.”



Zipora Erlich | Ph.D. ’76 

The Open University of Israel, Raanana, Israel 

Known as “Zippy.” Chair of mathematics and computer science at an online university. Papers cover everything from a statistical analysis of teen suicide to the efficacy of breast ultrasounds. Expert on e-learning. Kleinrock is godfather to her son.


Hideaki Takagi | Ph.D. ’83 

University of Tsukuba, Japan 

In 1974, joined IBM Japan before coming to UCLA for his master’s and Ph.D. Emeritus professor in the college of policy and planning sciences. Applied queuing models developed for computer networks to study patient flow and optimization in hospitals.


Hanoch Levy | M.S. ’82, Ph.D. ’84 

Tel Aviv University 

Once proposed an “efficient greedy algorithm” (his words) to study optimal vaccination strategies during global pandemics. Research areas: spoofing prevention, queuing systems, cloud computing.


Yehuda Afek | M.S. ’82, Ph.D. ’85 

Tel Aviv University 

Once cited the fruit fly as inspiration for his design of a new computer distribution system. In 2001, co-founded Riverhead Networks, known for solutions to distributed denial of service attacks; company acquired by Cisco 2004. Big bike-to-work advocate.


Jau-Hsiung Huang | M.S. ’85, Ph.D. ’88

National Taiwan, University, Taipei

Founded Cyberlink (1996), world leader in AI facial recognition tech. Named one of Tatler magazine’s most influential people in Asia (2021). Once wrote a paper titled, “A High Performance Video Server for Karaoke Systems.”

Anurag Garg | M.S. ’98, Ph.D. ’03

Software engineer, Ireland

Born in New Delhi. Postdoc and assistant professor at University of Trento in Italy; international fellow at Trinity College, Dublin. Founded a website with self-published movie reviews spanning films from Sunset Boulevard to Blue Streak. Big cricket fan.


Read more from UCLA Magazine’s Fall 2023 issue.