Speaking to the 18 students in Adriana Ahner’s Web page construction class — appropriately, via a 90-minute Webcast from his home in southern California, UCLA computer science professor Leonard Kleinrock spoke of how he overcame humble beginnings to eventually develop the mathematical theory of packet networks that became the foundation of Internet technology.
“I had a background of curiosity, independence and trying to make new things happen,” said Kleinrock, the son of Polish immigrants who was born and raised in New York City. “When I got to (Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a graduate student in the early 1960s), I decided not to follow the pack. I noticed that we were surrounded by computers that were full of information and interesting applications and capabilities and services, but they couldn’t talk to each other, and I figured that sooner or later that’s going to happen.”
Which makes me wonder — if this Kleinrock guy is the father of the Internet, then the Mother of the Internet needs to have a long talk with Al Gore.
Seriously, though, apparently the headline meant A father rather than THE father, because there were a number of guys involved in siring the ARPANet. Apparently, Mr. Kleinrock is actually the father (or a father) of packet switching, which I don’t really understand any more than I do the rest of how the Internet works; I just know it does.
But all this reminds me of the irony of the Internet — the most open, vulnerable (in a security sense) invention in the history of the world — starting as a defense thing. As we learned from the recent intel breach story regarding the Joint Strike Fighter, the LAST thing you want to put on the Internet is defense secrets. And yet, that’s now the whole thing started.