Leonard Kleinrock

2022 Fellow

For his pioneering work on the mathematical theory of computer networks and roles in the ARPANET and in expanding the internet

Have the courage to reach beyond your grasp, stake out new territory, develop new ideas, and go for the high ground.

— Leonard Kleinrock

We run much of our lives over the Internet, from social media to the connected vehicles that carry us. Over 60 years ago, Leonard Kleinrock pioneered the mathematical theory of computer networks. He uncovered fundamental principles that would later apply to the design of packet networks like those we use today. As head of the Network Measurement Center for the ARPANET in the late 1960s, mentor to a generation of networking pioneers, and in the 1980s as an influential voice for expanding the Internet, he helped lay the foundation for our online world.

Leonard Kleinrock, born June 13, 1934, is an American computer scientist and professor at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. Kleinrock was born in New York City and attended the prestigious Bronx High School of Science, graduating in 1951. He then completed his bachelor’s in electrical engineering attending night school at City College of New York, followed by a masters (1959) and PhD (topic: mathematical theory of computer networks), at MIT in 1963. Kleinrock began immediately as a faculty member at UCLA, where he remains today.

In 1967, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) chose Kleinrock's UCLA laboratory to run the Network Measurement Center (NMC) for the ARPANET. The mission was to analyze performance on this pioneering packet-switched network. UCLA received the first network node from developer BBN near Boston, and wrote the interface to connect with the lab's host computer. On October 29, 1969 the initial connection between host computers was made from UCLA to the second node, the Network Information Center (NIC) at SRI International near Stanford University. The ARPANET would become a pivotal part of the early Internet.

As a faculty member, Kleinrock’s influence is seen in his supervision of students who became pivotal figures in the development of the ARPANET and Internet. Their work spans all aspects of networking including Internet protocols, performance evaluation and design of packet networks, wireless network studies, nomadic computing, peer-to-peer networks, congestion control, distributed systems, intelligent software agents and more. These students, along with their students, form a cadre of networking experts worldwide.

In the late 1980’s, Kleinrock presented to then-senator Al Gore and his senate sub-committee the results of a National Research Council committee report that he had chaired. This helped to influence Gore to secure major support from the federal government leading to the $600 million High Performance Computing Act of 1991, an Act that produced the National Information Infrastructure.

Kleinrock is a member of the National Academy of Engineering for his pioneering contributions to and leadership in computer communications networks. He also holds the National Medal of Science, and among many other prizes, the Draper Prize, the Ericsson Prize, the Marconi Prize and is an inductee of the Internet Hall of Fame.


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