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How the Internet Came to Be - Page 2

The birth of the ARPANET

My involvement began when I was at UCLA doing graduate work from 1967 to 1972. There were several people at UCLA at the time studying under Jerry Estrin, and among them was Stephen Crocker. Stephen was an old high-school friend, and when he found out that I wanted to do graduate work in computer science, he invited me to interview at UCLA.

When I started graduate school, I was originally looking at multiprocessor hardware and software. Then a Request For Proposal came in from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA. The proposal was about packet switching, and it went along with the packet-switching network that DARPA was building.

Several UCLA faculty were interested in the RFP. Leonard Kleinrock had come to UCLA from MIT, and he brought with him his interest in that kind of communications environment. His thesis was titled Communication Networks: Stochastic Flow and Delay, and he was one of the earliest queuing theorists to examine what packet-switch networking might be like. As a result, the UCLA people proposed to DARPA to organize and run a Network Measurement Center for the ARPANET project.

This is how I wound up working at the Network Measurement Center on the implementation of a set of tools for observing the behavior of the fledgling ARPANET. The team included Stephen Crocker; Jon Postel, who has been the RFC editor from the beginning; Robert Braden, who was working at the UCLA computer center; Michael Wingfield, who built the first interface to the Internet for the Xerox Data System Sigma 7 computer, which had originally been the Scientific Data Systems (SDS) Sigma 7; and David Crocker, who became one of the central figures in electronic mail standards for the ARPANET and the Internet. Mike Wingfield built the BBN 1822 interface for the Sigma 7, running at 400 Kbps, which was pretty fast at the time.


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