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A Technical History of National Physical Laboratories (NPL) Network Architecture - Annotated Bibliography


  1. Abbate, Janet; Inventing the Internet, MIT Press, London 1999 
  2. Barber, D.L.A. et al; "Operating Experience with NPL Networks", proceedings, ACM Symposium on Computer Networks, IRIA 145, 1972 
  3. Campbell-Kelly, Marin. Davies, Donald interview by Martin Campbell-Kely 1986, transcript, Teddington, Middlesex, England, 17 March 1986. 
    Begins by discussing his entry into computing through work during World War II, and mentions his involvement with the Pilot ACE and ACE computer projects of the 1940s and 1950s before focusing on his work at the National Physical Laboratories Computer Science Division. Davies discusses at length the management of the division and its activities, especially related to data transmission systems.
  4. Hafner, K, Lyon, M; Where Wizards Stay Up Late, Simon and Schuster, 1996 
  5. Original Source Material from D. Davies first thoughts on packet-switching in his own words
    1. Historical Note on the Early Development of Packet-Switching
      Davies reconstructs an early account of packet-switching from conception of the idea in 1965 to the full operation of NPL local network in 1973
    2. Remote on-line Data Processing and its Communication Needs10 November 1965
      "This was an aide-memoir after my first thoughts and needs careful reading to extract its messages."
    3. Further Speculations on Data Transmission 16 November 1965
      "This note looked at some human factor issues and seems now to be a description of today's e-mal interfaces."
    4. Proposal for the Development of a National Communication Service for on-line Data Processing 15 December 1965
      "This was the substance of a lecture I gave in March 1966"
    5. Proposal for a Digital Communication Network June 1966
      this paper contains Davies' first proposal for a national communication network; here he defines the term 'packet', and outlines the technical and economical feasibility of his network
    6. A Digital Communication Network for Computers giving Rapid Response at Remote Terminals 1-4 October 1967
      this paper is a more concise and technically detailed proposal of the NPL architecture, providing more specification for the interface units' software and hardware design
    7. Report on Visit of R.A. Scantlebury to the 1967 A.C.M. Symposium U.S.A.
      this is a report on Davies' visit to the United States to 'establish contact' with American researchers in the same field
    8. A Data Communication Network for Real-Time Computers
      date unknown; this paper appears to be a rewrite of the October 1967 proposal
    9. CCITT meeting at Geneva, November 23 to 27 [ed. note: preparation1, preparation2, report]
      I have included these papers  because they throw light on the first response of the telecom. establishment to these ideas, which were first raised by me in Geneva in 1967.
  6. Davies, D. W., DLA Barber, Communication Networks for Computers, London: John Wiley and Sons, 1973
  7. Davies, D. W., 'A Communication Network for Real-Time Computer Systems', The Radio and Electronic Engineer, Vol 37, No. 1, January 1969. pp 47-52
  8. Internet Timeline: Davies' Packet Switching Autumn 1965
  9.; Short summary of Donald Davies work at NPL
    About proposal in 1965 to building of the MarkII packet-switched network in 1973, with links to key ideas
  10. National Physical Laboratory Archives two large boxes of working papers, reports, publications and unpublished memoranda at the NPL
  11. Scantlebury, R.A., P.T. Wilkinson; "The Design of a Switching System to Allow Remote Access to Computer Services by Other Computers and Terminal Devices", Second Symposium on Problems in the Optimization of Data Communication Systems, Palo Alto, Oct 1971 pp. 160-167
  12. Campbell-Kelly, Martin. 'Data Communications at the National Physical Laboratory (1965-1975)', Annals of the History of Computing, Vol 9, No 3/4, 1988. pp 221-247
  13. Barlett, K. A., R. A. Scantlebury and P. T. Wilkinson, 'A Note on Reliable Full-Duplex Transmission over Half-Duplex', Communications of the ACM, Vol 12, No 5, May 1969, pp 260-261
  14. Wilkinson, P.T. and D. L. A. Barber, "A Model for the Local Area of a Data Communication Network - Software Organization", Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Problems in the Optimization of Data Communications Systems, Pine Mountain, October 1969, pp 155-182
  15. Scantlebury, R. A. and D. L. A. Barber, "A Model for the Local Area of a Data Communication Network - Objectives and Hardware Organization",Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Problems in the Optimization of Data Communications Systems, Pine Mountain, October 1969 , pp 183-204
  16. D. L. A. Barber, "Experience with the Use of the British Standard Interface in Computer Peripherals and Communication System",Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Problems in the Optimization of Data Communications Systems, Pine Mountain, October 1969 , pp 271-290



Written by the THINK Protocols team, CS Dept, UT Austin
Please direct comments to Chris Edmondson-Yurkanan.

This document was last modified on Tuesday, 11-Jun-2002 10:18:03 CDT.