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Networking the Nerds
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Did You Get the "L"?

When planning began for the IMPs, four university research centers were chosen for the initial test sites. The decision on which university received an IMP was based on the specialties of each research center. Len Kleinrock, at UCLA, was one of the leading experts on packet-switching networks, so he would receive the first IMP and test the network as it was built and used. The second IMP would go to Stanford, where Doug Engelbart would manage the Network Information Center (NIC) providing a network home for ARPAnet documentation. Sutherland (the second director of IPTO), was researching computer graphics at the University of Utah, so the third IMP would go there. The fourth IMP would go to the University of California at Santa Barbara where research was conducted on interactive computer graphics.

Len KleinrockLen Kleinrock's graduate students had found out about the problems BBN was having with the IMP, so they guessed that BBN would need to set the date back and give them more time to finish programming the software interface. However, on August 29th, the day before Labor Day, the IMP was delivered to the Stanford shipping dock as planned. Steve Crocker, the graduate student responsible for the host-to-IMP software, heard the news two days earlier and was a little surprised. He spent all night finishing the interface for the Sigma 7 mainframe.

On Labor Day, the IMP was carted up to Kleinrock's lab and connected to a power source by a BBN engineer. When it was powered up, it started working where it had left off back in Cambridge. Unlike the temporary memory used in today's computers, the IMP used core memory that didn't forget anything when it was powered off. When they connected the Sigma 7 to the IMP, the mainframe and the IMP communicated with each other just as planned.

Logging In
A month later, the second IMP was installed at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). They had a SDS-940 mainframe computer connected to the IMP, so a different interface was written by the graduate students at Stanford. When it was working they were ready to test the first connection in the ARPANET, so they got on the phone with UCLA and coordinated the login.

"Did you get the L?" Charlie Klein, an undergraduate at UCLA, asked. "Yes," came the answer from Stanford. "Did you get the O?" asked UCLA. "Yes," answered Stanford. When Klein typed 'G' another first occurred - the network crashed.

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