A $5 million gift to the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering in honor of internet pioneer Leonard Kleinrock will establish a center devoted to shaping the future of the internet and computer networking, the university announced Wednesday.

The gift from Sunday Group Inc., a Las Vegas-based software company specializing in blockchain technology, will create the UCLA Connection Lab. Kleinrock, a UCLA distinguished professor of computer science who established the underpinning framework of the internet in the 1960s, will lead the new center.

According to the university, the Connection Lab will foster research on various technologies such as blockchain — a decentralized secure record of digital transactions — computer networks, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the “internet of things.”

The donation will provide resources to recruit and retain faculty at the lab and will support research conducted by undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. It also will encourage startups by connecting members of the lab with industry and government leaders.

“It’s impossible today to consider a world without the internet — this global nervous system plays a major role in every facet of modern society — but indeed that’s where we were before Professor Kleinrock and his team laid the first cornerstone of this network of networks at UCLA,” said James Pack, a director and co-founder of Sunday Group. “Nearly 50 years after that landmark work, we are very excited to see UCLA continue its lead role in the study of emerging connections technologies.”

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