A half-century ago, Menlo Park played key role in birth of internet


Celebrated as the "Anniversary of the Internet," Oct. 29 marked the 50th year since the first transmission on ARPANET, a precursor to today's internet.

The transmission was between the University of California-Los Angeles and SRI, or the Stanford Research Institute, now SRI International, located in Menlo Park.

According to SRI International, it housed one of four original nodes of the network; the others were at UCLA, University of California-Santa Barbara and the University of Utah.

In an archived UCLA report, Leonard Kleinrock, a computer scientist at the university's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, described the experience.

"All we wanted to do was to log in from our host computer at UCLA to the SRI host computer," said Kleinrock. "We needed to transmit the letters 'log' to SRI, at which point the SRI host would add the letters 'in' to complete the word 'login.'"

However, only the first two letters, lo, went through before the host computer at SRI crashed.

"As a result, history now records how clever we were to send such a prophetic first message, namely 'lo,'" Kleinrock noted.

The resulting network was named after the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency, or ARPA, which started and funded the initiative.


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