Leonard Kleinrock – “Father of Modern Data Networking”
Leonard Kleinrock is one of the most important people when it comes to the informational revolution; without a doubt, he truly deserves to be called “father of modern data networking”. He was born in New York, on June 13, 1934. Being a kid, he displayed a great interest in mathematics, which was noticed and further promoted by his parents.
“He received his BEE degree from CCNY in 1957 and MSEE and PhD degrees from MIT in 1959 and 1963, respectively, all in Electrical Engineering.” (Begley 56) Kleinrock is called «Father of Modern Data Networking» for his great contribution (we might even say invention) of packet switching technologies. For the complicated research he had to perform to receive his PhD at MIT, he was able to develop and defend a theory (mathematical) of data networking, as well as the basic principles of packet switching. It is of primary importance to the informational revolution because packet switching allowed the birth of Internet.
As packet switching is something that made Leonard so famous, more information will be provided to explain it. It was through a marriage of minicomputers and communications that a new kind of digital communications service was developed in the sixties to meet the growing demands of these computer services bureaus and databank services companies as well as the business community of users in general.
Packet – switching invented by Kleinrock used time-division multiplexing (TDM) techniques to enable individual users to share the same transmission channels on a time-sharing basis in a similar way as they share time-shared computers. (King 126)Because the facility was shared, it was less expensive to use, and because the service was based on digital technology, its quality, reliability, and security was superior to that of leased line analogue channels available from telephone companies.
After Kleinrock’s invention, Packet - switching was pioneered by the Defence Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In 1969, DARPA financed the development of a network, appropriately called ARPANET, to test the feasibility and economics of the new technology. Kleinrock was a major part of this process with his research works.
ARPANET grew to connect hundreds of universities and military establishments across the United States and eventually overseas in the seventies, and it subsequently came to constitute the backbone foundation for the Internet, the network of networks that connects millions of users around the world today. (Richardson 118)
Once packet - switching proved to be technologically feasible and economically attractive, it was commercialized by companies like Tymnet and Telenet which leased bulk transmission facilities from the carriers. Because it combined both computers and telecommunications in new and unique ways, packet - switching defied the traditional definitions of telecommunications services.
On the one hand, companies that supplied these services constituted data processing service organizations. On the other hand, they could be regarded as legitimate telecommunications common carriers. Telephone companies regarded these suppliers as a competitive threat and lobbied the FCC to curtail their expansion. (King 133)
The FCC, on the other hand, was in a quandary as to what they constituted under the Communications Act and whether or not the act required it to regulate them. As for Leonard Kleinrock, “his laboratory at UCLA became the first node of the Internet on September 2, 1969 and from that laboratory he supervised the first Internet message transmission on October 29, 1969.” (Begley 118)
The academic work and numerous contributions of professor Kleinrock are tremendous. He was a faculty member at UCLA since the year 1963; he helped graduate 43 PhD, some of whom later on were also able to contribute to the development of the Internet technologies. He worked as Chairman of the Computer Science Department at UCLA in the years 1991-95.
“In 1997, he received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from CCNY.” (Begley 124) Leonard Kleinrock is an author of six books, which were highly praised by the scientific community. Also, he was able to publish more than 225 papers, which is quite a great load of work even for such highly acclaimed specialist as professor Kleinrock. “He co founded (and was the first President of) Linkabit Corporation, the Computer Channel, and Technology Transfer Institute.” (Begley 127)
The numerous rewards and honors received by Leonard are quite astonishing. Currently he is an honorary member of the National Academy of Engineering; he is a fellow of the IEEE, ACM and IEC. One of the most significant accomplishments of Leonard Kleinrock was L.M. Ericsson Prize; he also became the recipient of “the Marconi Award, the C.C.N.Y. Townsend Harris Medal, the CCNY Electrical Engineering Award, the UCLA Outstanding Teacher Award, the Lanchester Prize, the ACM SIGCOMM Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship”. (Begley 131)
Currently Leonard Kleinrock lives in LA together with his wife Stella. He has four children and five grandchildren and lives quite an active life. His hobbies include Karate, running and swimming, so that Leonard can stay in shape. He is also a big fan of puzzles. In the sphere of business, recently he founded Nomadix, Inc, a California based company that specializes in developing nomadic computing technologies.