Internet Innovators - Leonard Kleinrock


A Look Back in Time + to the Future with Leonard Kleinrock

NANOG’s Elizabeth Drolet had the pleasure of sitting down (virtually) with the renowned and highly esteemed Internet Hall of Famer and a father of the Internet, Leonard Kleinrock.

Among many award-winning contributions to the field of Computer Science, Kleinrock invented the mathematical theory behind packet switching and sent the first message between two computers on a network that was a precursor of the Internet.

His story starts on the streets of Harlem, where Kleinrock credits his street smarts and where he learned to live life without pretense. 

"There's no puffery; it's a place where it is what it is…I had to look at the reality of a situation and not pretend things were better or worse than they were, and that applied not only to my social life but also to my research," he said.

"You look for problems that are important and real, and you don't want to fool yourself into thinking you did something great if you did not or try to cover up a mistake. And so, the realism carried through to my social life and my professional life," Kleinrock explained. 

The Internet History Room 

The candid conversation took place in the most appropriate virtual room: the Internet History Room (the inception room of Internet communication). 

"This is where the Internet began," Kleinrock said. 

The virtual background of Kleinrock stands the test of time, as it shows what the actual room looked like during the time of the Internet's inception. The vivid and putrid green painted walls and vintage photographs establish the late 60s era decor. 

NANOG peeled back all the layers of his story, along with the Internet's history.

Explore the Internet History Room + learn more about: 

  • A crystal radio Leonard made during his childhood
  • The day an engineer was born
  • The historic day where the first message was transmitted 
  • What the first message was, and why
  • What Leonard would have done differently
  • Why he thinks the Internet was "destiny"
  • Internet 50 Bash
  • Future predictions for the Internet 
  • His most recent project: the UCLA Connection Lab 
  • + More