Lawrence G. Roberts
March 22 1997 - updated Aug 29, 1997
- Jul-61 First Paper on Packet Switching Theory, Leonard Kleinrock,
"Information Flow in Large Communication Nets.", RLE Quarterly
Progress Report. This was the theoretical work that convinced Roberts
that packets could be used for the Internet.
- Aug-62 First Paper on Internet Concept by J.C.R. Licklider &
Welden Clark, "On-Line Man Computer Communication".
- Oct-62 ARPA Computer Program Begins, J.C.R. Licklider becomes first
ARPA IPTO Director. Writes internal papers on Galactic Network. Lick leaves
in 64. It was Licklider's concept, which spurred Roberts to build the
- 1964 Book - Communication Nets by Leonard Kleinrock provides the
network design and queuing theory necessary to build packet networks. This
work was a major factor in designing the communications network for the
ARPANET. It shows that packet switching would work, whereas until the ARPANET
was built in 1969, most communications experts claimed that packet switching
would never work.
- Mar-64 First Paper on Secure Packetized Voice, Paul Baran, "On
Distributed Communications Networks", IEEE Transactions on Systems.
It is from this paper that the rumor was started that the Internet was
created by the military to withstand nuclear war. This is totally false.
Even though this Rand work was based on this premise, the ARPANET and the
Internet stemmed from the MIT work of Licklider, Kleinrock and Roberts,
and had no relation to Baran's work.
- Sep-64 Ivan Sutherland becomes second ARPA IPTO Director. Ivan leaves
in 1966. Ivan believed in the importance Licklider's Internet concept
and funded the first network research (Roberts @ MIT) and then tried to
hire Roberts into ARPA.
- Nov-64 Homestead Meeting between J.C.R. Licklider and Lawrence Roberts
sparks Roberts to undertake the creation of the Internet. This was the
critical turning point where Lick's Internet concept is transferred to
Roberts to be implemented.
- Feb-65 First Network Experiment Contracted, Ivan Sutherland, ARPA,
gives contract to Lawrence Roberts at MIT Lincoln Labs.
- Oct-65 First Actual Network Experiment, Lincoln Labs TX-2 tied to
SDC's Q32, Lawrence Roberts, MIT Lincoln Labs. This experiment was the
first time two computers talked to each other and the first time packets
were used to communicate between computers.
- Oct-66 First Paper on Network Experiments,
Lawrence Roberts & Thomas Marill, "Toward a Cooperative Network
of Time-Shared Computers", Fall AFIPS Conf.
- Aug-66 Robert Taylor becomes third ARPA IPTO Director and hires
Roberts. Taylor and Sutherland tried to hire Roberts throughout early
1966. When Roberts refused, Taylor appealed to ARPA Director Charlie Hertzfeld
who then put pressure on the Director of Lincoln Labs who then convinced
Roberts to take the ARPA job.
- Dec-66 ARPA Communications Program Begins, Lawrence
Roberts becomes ARPA IPTO Chief Scientist and begins the design of the
APRANET. The ARPANET program as proposed to Congress by Roberts was
to explore computer resource sharing and packet switched communications
and had nothing to do with nuclear war or survivability. Reliability, however
was one of the key network issues that dictated packet switching.
- Apr-67 ARPANET Design Session
held by Roberts at APRA IPTO PI meeting in Ann Arbor MI. It was
at this meeting that Wes Clark suggested the use of mini-computers for
network packet switches instead of using the main frame computers themselves
- Oct-67 Original ARPANET Design Paper, Lawrence Roberts, " Multiple
Computer Networks and Intercomputer Communication ", ACM Gatlingberg
- Oct-67 First Introduction of the word "Packet", Donald
Davies, Roger Scantlebury et all, "A digital Communications Network
for Computers Ö", ACM Gatlingberg Conf. Donald Davies work at the
UK's National Physical Laboratory explored packet switching in their laboratory,
but Donald could not convince the British to fund a wide area network experiment.
His papers, however, did show the importance of packet switching for computer
communication. This effort had been going on in parallel with the MIT efforts
- Oct-67 The 3 Independent Packet Research Efforts (MIT, Rand, NPL)
Meet, Roberts and Scantlebury meet. Scantelbury tells Roberts about Baran
and the Rand work. After the Gatlingberg meeting, Roberts read the Rand
work and met with Baran. Although the UK work convinced Roberts to use
higher speed lines (50 KB) and to use the word packet, the Rand work had
no significant impact on the ARPANET plans and Internet history.
- Aug-68 Request For Proposals released for ARPANET by Lawrence Roberts,
ARPA. The RFP mandated the main packet switching design elements for the
ARPANET. This RFP was to contract out the packet switch development.
Roberts did the overall network design. network economic analysis, line
optimization, and the selection of computer sites to be connected.
- Sep-68 ARPANET RFP Responses received. Evaluation was by Roberts,
ARPA staff, and a group of APRA contractors.
- Oct-68 Network Measurement Center at UCLA contracted by Roberts
at ARPA to Leonard Kleinrock at UCLA to undertake ARPANET measurement.
Kleinrock was chosen because of his previous queuing theory work on
networks and his ability to then measure the real network and from this
verify or fix the theory. A sound, proven theory was critical for future
- Dec-68 APPANET Packet Switch Contract Awarded to BBN.
ARPA, under Robert leadership, awarded contract to Frank Heartís
group at BBN to build the ARPANET Interface Message Processors (IMPís).
The BBN group proposed to use Honeywell 516 mini-computers for the Interface
Message Processors (IMP's). The team included Bob Kahn, Severo Ornstein,
Dave Walden and many other key individuals.
- Apr-69 Host to IMP Spec. 1822 Released, written by Bob Kahn at BNN.
This spec. detailed the interface between ARPANET host computers and the
Interface Message Processors. The IMP's needed to be connected to each
computer with this unique hardware interface. It needed to be designed
and built for each different computer attached.
- Apr-69 Request For Comments (RFC) #1, "Host Software"
Released, written by Steve Crocker, covering Host-to-Host protocol, the
first output of the Network Working Group (NWG). Crocker had been asked
by ARPA to collect a team, the NWG, to design and specify the first Host
Protocol. This was a major undertaking, requiring considerable foresight
into the applications that might be forthcoming on the Internet.
- Sep-69 First Node of ARPANET Installed at UCLA
Network Measurement Center where Len Kleinrockís group connected the IMP
to their Sigma 7 computer.
- Oct-69 Second Node of ARPANET Installed at SRI where Doug Engelbartís
group connected it to their SDS 940 computer. The first ARPANET messages
passed that day.
- Sep-69 Taylor leaves ARPA and Roberts becomes fourth Director of
- Nov-69 Third Node of the ARPANET Installed at UCSB making the first
- Dec-69 Fourth Node of the ARPANET Installed at the University of
- Mar-70 ARPANET First Spans the US connecting BBN into the net.
- Mar-70 First Report on ARPANET at Spring AFIPS with paper by Lawrence
Roberts and Barry Wessler, "Computer Network Development to Achieve
Resource Sharing" and others.
- Jul-70 First Packet Radio -ALOHANET operational at U. Hawaii under
Norm Abramson using the ALOHA concept of random packet transmission.
- Dec-70 Network Control Protocol (NCP), the first host-to-host protocol,
completed by Steve Crocker and NWG.
- Jul-71 Packet Satellite Technique Published by Lawrence Roberts
suggesting Slotted Aloha for short traffic and Packet Reservation for long
- Sep-71 First Terminal Interface Processor (TIP) in ARPANET permitting
terminals to directly dial into the network, greatly increasing the network
- Mar-72 First basic Email Programs, SNGMSG and READMAIL written by
Ray Tomlinson at BBN. Mail spooled out like a teletype printout.
- Jul-72 First Email Management Program, RD written
by Larry Roberts at ARPA to list incoming messages and support forwarding,
filing, and responding to them. This spurred many other mail programs,
however the ancestors today (like Eudora) still operate in basically the
same way as RD.
- Jul-72 FTP Protocol Specification ( RFC 354)
released by Jon Postel, the editor of the Request For Comments, and Abhay
Bhushan, the chairman of the Network Working Group.
- Oct-72 First APRANET Public Demonstration at ICCC in Washington
organized by Robert Kahn of BBN. Show was a major success. Kahn was then
hired by Roberts into ARPA.
- May-73 First Ethernet Operation at Xerox PARC designed by Robert
Metcalfe. Bob had expanded the ALOHA packet radio concepts and applied
them to cable.
- Oct-73 Roberts leaves ARPA, joining Telenet, the first packet switching
carrier, as CEO. Licklider returns to ARPA as Director IPTO. Telenet
proved that packet switching was far more economic than the telephone network
for data. Telenet created a way to connect computers to the network without
a specialized hardware interface by introducing and standardizing X.25
for network to host computer interfacing.
- Apr-74 BBN released revised ARPANET Routing after complete rewrite
by John McQuillan fixing many long standing bugs and greatly speeding up
- May-74 First Internetworking Protocol, TCP outlined in a paper by
Robert Kahn and Vincent Cerf, "A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection".
Kahn and Cerf started design in 1973.
- Jul-75 ARPANET Transferred to DCA, the Defense Communications Agency.
- Jul-76 Vincent Cerf joins APRA as program manager of the packet
radio, packet satellite and packet research programs. Vint stayed until
- Jul-77 First TCP Operation over ARPANET, Packet Radio Net, and SATNET
(the satellite network).
- Nov-77 Complete Email Specification ( RFC 733) released by two Email
pioneers, Dave Crocker and John Vittal.
- Mar-78 TCP Split into TCP and IP, where TCP was the end-to-end process
and IP was the network routing process by Vint Cerf, Jon Postel, and Danny
- Jul-80 NSF Organizes CSNET increasing it to 70 sites by Jun-83 and
integrating most computer science sites by 1986.
- 1983 DCA Splits MILNET off of ARPANET leaving 68 nodes on ARPANET
and 45 on MILNET, the military network.
- Nov-83 Domain Name System ( DNS ) Designed by Jon Postel, Paul Mockapetris,
and Craig Partridge to support the Email addressing space, creating .edu,
.gov, .com, .mil, .org, .net, & .int.
- 1985 NSF Organizes NSFNET backbone to connect five supercomputing
centers and interconnect all other Internet sites.
- 1989 First Interop Conference organized by Dan Lynch.
- 1991 NSF Opens Internet to commercial use.
- 1998 - Backbone carriers start deploying
Explicit Rate ABR ATM switches in the Internet backbone. The impact of
explicit rate is to reduce the delay per switch by 100:1 and thus with
the backbone all explicit rate, the round trip delay in the Internet will
drop by 10:1 to give WWW response in the 1-3 second range, rather than
the 10-30 seconds experienced in 1997.
- 2000 - Finally the Internet gets Quality of Service (QOS) with
guaranteed rate service for voice and video plus minimum rate guarantees
(part of ABR service in ATM) for interactive data activities like the WWW.
This permits the ISP's and carriers to charge higher flat rates for premium
service and then add the bandwidth necessary to support these users. Also,
the Internet gets explicit rate flow control available end-to-end by downloading
a small change to TCP. This dramatically improves the WWW page access delay,
reducing it to less than a second per page.
- 2005 - The service quality and security
on the Internet has increased to the point where there is a major trend
of both home and office users to use the Internet for their primary voice
service, their high quality TV and radio service, as well as their data
service. This trend will slowly eliminate all the other communication nets
like the current telephone network over the next decade. The inherent cost
of the Internet is dramatically less than today's voice net, due to the
elimination of per call billing and the use of packet switching, which
is orders of magnitude less expensive than circuit switching. Thus, both
cost and new data related features will move users over quickly once the
quality is fixed.
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