Back where it all began, Leonard Kleinrock unwrapped a gift on the Internet’s 51st birthday.
Part of the Internet Hall of Fame’s 2012 inaugural class, Kleinrock was one of the developers of ARPANET, the forerunner of the modern Internet. His laboratory at the University of California-Los Angeles hosted the first ARPANET node computer and in October 1969 directed the network’s first transmission.
“The UCLA Connection Lab is a new research center devoted to shaping the future of the Internet. It is an environment of collaborative, interdisciplinary, open research with an underlying theme, and that theme is connectivity,” Kleinrock said in an interview with the Samueli School of Engineering.
To Jean Armour Polly, the commercial landscape of the Internet has somewhat come full circle.
A 2019 Internet Hall of Fame inductee, Polly was among the first librarians in the country to facilitate patrons’ Internet access after she convinced the Liverpool, New York, public library to buy an Apple desktop for public use.
In a recent video interview, Polly pointed out that many of the pressing issues facing contemporary Internet users were also concerns raised in the early days of commercial Internet access.
“A lot of these things were predicted and we were warned about them,” she said. “Things like loss of privacy and malevolence and malware. We were warned, but a lot of us put on our rose-colored glasses, said ‘Oh well’ and went chasing waterfalls anyway.”
Larry Irving did not have just a single “Aha” moment when attempting to expand the Internet’s reach.
He had dozens.
“Every time I talked to somebody, their ‘aha’ moment became my ‘aha’ moment,” he said in a recent video interview. “They’d see it through their lens and that would make me a better articulator of this vision because now I’ve got 15 or 20 or 30 visions.
“If you put the technology in the hands of the people, they’ll come up with great ideas every time.”
A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Irving served for seven years as administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, becoming one of the main architects of telecommunications policy in the Clinton White House.
He is credited with developing the phrase “digital divide” to describe the gap between people who do and do not have regular, reliable access to the Internet.
August marked the 25th anniversary of commercial Internet services making their debut in India.
Among the key people facilitating Internet access was Srinivasan Ramani, a 2014 Internet Hall of Fame inductee. In the early 1980s, Ramani proposed and helped develop an academic network that started with email exchanges and the development of TCP/IP protocols between some of the country’s major cities.
In a recent piece for LiveMint, several of the people directly involved with the launch of India’s commercial Internet service recalled the unique challenges they had to overcome in the 1990s, even with the groundbreaking work from Ramani and his academic colleagues in the 1980s.
"It was a very primitive precursor of the web," Gopi Garge said. “It’s a single system where you have one telephone line and one modem. You have a set of users who log in one at a time and leave messages, read messages from the others, and then log off. Then somebody else logs on."
If you ask Bob Metcalfe, connectivity is key.
As part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Faculty Forum Online, the 2013 Internet Hall of Fame inductee took to Zoom for 45 minutes earlier this year to discuss the role of connectivity growth.
Metcalfe is the author of a 1973 memo that invented the Ethernet, of which more than 1.2 billion new ports are shipped each year -- 400 million wired and 800 million WiFi. Prior to that, he built a high speed network interface and protocol software between a packet switching ARPAnet IMP and PDP-10 time-sharing minicomputer at MIT. He is also the founder of 3Com, a multi-billion dollar networking company.
With almost 60 percent of the world’s population now with web access, Metcalfe urged listeners to be mindful of the impacts of the steady increase in connectivity and to watch them carefully.
“I want to convince you all that the most important new fact about the human condition is that we are now suddenly connected,” he said. “I’m going to try to convince you...