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Communications of the ACM


An Interview with Leonard Kleinrock

Leonard Kleinrock in front of blackboard

Credit: UCLA

Leonard Kleinrock, developer of the mathematical theory behind packet switching, has the unique distinction of having supervised the transmission of the first message between two computers. As a doctoral student at MIT in the early 1960s, Kleinrock extended the mathematical discipline of queuing theory to networks, providing a mathematical description of packet switching, in which a data stream is packetized by breaking it into a sequence of fixed-length segments (packets). ACM Fellow Kleinrock has received many awards for his work, including the National Medal of Science, the highest honor for achievement in science bestowed by a U.S. president.

UCLA Professor and ACM Fellow George Varghese conducted a wide-ranging interview of Kleinrock, an edited version of which appears here.


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