Leonard Kleinrock

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Leonard Kleinrock (born June 13, 1934, in New York) is an engineer and computer scientist, and a computer science professor at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, who made several important contributions to the field of computer networking, in particular to the theoretical side of computer networking. He also played an important role in the development of the ARPANET at UCLA.[1]

His most well-known and significant work is his early work on queueing theory, which has applications in many fields, among them as a key mathematical background to packet switching, the basic technology behind the Internet. His initial contribution to this field was his doctoral thesis in 1962, published in book form in 1964; he later published several of the standard works on the subject.

He has described this work as:

"Basically, what I did for my PhD research in 1961–1962 was to establish a mathematical theory of packet networks...."

His theoretical work on hierarchical routing, done in the late 1970s with his then-student Farouk Kamoun, is now critical to the operation of today's worldwide Internet.


ARPANET and the Internet

In 1969, ARPANET, the world's first packet switched computer network, was established on October 29 between nodes at Kleinrock's lab at UCLA and Douglas Engelbart's lab at SRI. Interface Message Processors (IMP) at both sites served as the backbone of the first Internet [1].

In addition to SRI and UCLA, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah were part of the original four network nodes. By December 5, 1969, the initial 4-node network was connected.

In 1988, Kleinrock was the chairman of a group that presented the report Toward a National Research Network to the U.S. Congress [2]. This report was highly influential upon then-Senator Al Gore, who used it to develop the Gore Bill or the High Performance Computing Act of 1991 [3], which was influential in the development of the Internet as it is known today. [4] Funding from the bill was used in the development of the 1993 web browser MOSAIC, at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

Education and career

Kleinrock graduated from the noted Bronx High School of Science in 1951, and received a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree in 1957 from the City College of New York, and a master's degree and a doctorate (Ph.D.) in electrical engineering & computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1959 and 1963 respectively. He then joined the faculty at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), where he remains to the present day; during 1991-1995 he served as the Chairman of the Computer Science Department there.

Kleinrock is also a member of the advisory board of TTI/Vanguard.


He has received numerous professional awards. Kleinrock was selected to receive the prestigious National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor, from President George W. Bush in the White House on September 29, 2008. "The 2007 National Medal of Science to Leonard Kleinrock for his fundamental contributions to the mathematical theory of modern data networks, and for the functional specification of packet switching, which is the foundation of Internet technology. His mentoring of generations of students has led to the commercialization of technologies that have transformed the world." [2]

See also

Further reading

  • Leonard Kleinrock, Farok Kamoun, "Hierarchical Routing for Large Networks, Performance Evaluation and Optimization", Computer Networks, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 155–174, January 1977


  1. Rosenbaum, Philip (October 29, 2009). "Web pioneer recalls 'birth of the Internet'". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/10/29/kleinrock.internet/index.html. Retrieved October 30, 2009. 
  2. White House News report

External links

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