Computer science professor and internet pioneer Leonard Kleinrock is the latest recipient of the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor, it was announced Monday.
“The medal is given to those with exceptionally distinguished academic and professional achievement and whose bodies of work or contributions to society illustrate the highest ideals of UCLA,” according to the university.
Past recipients include Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, UCLA alumna and former astronaut Anna Lee Fisher and basketball coaching legend John Wooden.
In 1962, as a graduate electrical engineering student at MIT, Kleinrock developed the mathematical theory of packet-switching, the technology that underpins the internet. A year later, he joined the faculty at UCLA, where his theory was put into practice on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s fledgling Arpanet network, the precursor to Monday’s internet.
Kleinrock was appointed principal investigator of the UCLA Arpanet project and received the first Interface Message Processor — a router the size of a large refrigerator — at his lab at 3420 Boelter Hall, where it remains Monday, according to UCLA.
According to the university, his SDS Sigma 7 host computer became the first node on the Arpanet in September 1969, and he directed the transmission of the first internet message from UCLA to the Stanford Research Institute on Oct. 29, 1969.
Kleinrock’s “extraordinary work that helped lay the foundation for today’s internet is a tremendous point of pride for our campus,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “The entire UCLA community has been made better by Len’s intellectual rigor and leadership.”
Kleinrock, who was presented with the award on Friday, has received eight honorary degrees, published more than 250 papers, and authored six books that have helped advance the fields of engineering and computer science, according to UCLA.
“Thanks to Len, UCLA became the birthplace of the internet,” said Jayathi Murthy, dean of the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. “His brilliant research, service and teaching have truly benefited our faculty, students, alumni and the entire engineering community.”
In 2007, Kleinrock received the National Medal of Science, the highest honor for achievement in science bestowed by the president of the United States.
On the 50th anniversary of the internet, he was presented the key to the City of Los Angeles from Mayor Eric Garcetti.
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