X - 1970s Networking Collaboration to Develop Internet Technology




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X - 1970s Networking Collaboration to Develop Internet Technology
Critical to the scientific process of the development of the TCP protocol was the international collaboration of researchers working together on its development. Describing the role of this collaboration, Lundh writes:
"(T)he network technology was further refined and developed in an

intimate co-operation of ten research groups during the 1970s. That

co-operation resulted in the technology underlying today's Internet."

(Lundh, 10)


The results were documented as standards and made openly available to anyone around the world, particularly to academic researchers. The period from 1973 to 1980 was a significant period in the research to develop the Internet. For Lundh, the Internet is the networking of interconnected nets. "From the initial ARPANET," he writes, "the technology was developed into a basically new computer cooperating technology -- Internetworking technology. Its main constituents were defined as proposed standards around 1980."(Lundh, 10) Further important technical refinements and geographical expansion occurred in the 1980s.
This development was done on a non-commercial research basis. The earliest ARPANET development was done on the basis of leased telephone lines. The research in the mid to late 1970s and into the 1980s, however, included research on Ethernet, packet radio and packet satellite forms of communication. Lundh points out that not only was the ARPANET a laboratory, it was at the same time "an active telecom network, a resource sharing network and a forum of creative and critical people."(Lundh, 12)(22)
Lundh cites an experiment where three people were located in different geographical locations, Boston, MA in the US, London, England, and Kjeller, Norway. They held a demonstration conference using speech, which was observed by other researchers in a meeting at another ARPANET-TIP international site, at University College London (UCL). Lundh writes:
"Each of the three sites ... communicated through local area nets

interconnected through gateways via Arpanet and SATNET. The packet

traffic in that Internet situation (new then!) was a combination of

that speech traffic together with 'natural' traffic in the Arpanet at

the time."(Lundh, 13)
Lundh calls this experiment in 1978, "one of the several major milestones during development of Internet technology." He also emphasizes that not only did the Internet research result in important and robust standards, but it also influenced and actually pioneered a new methodology for developing telecommunication standards.(Lundh, 13)
According to Lundh, ten groups collaborated on developing the TCP/IP protocols. The whole team, he explains, referred to itself as the "Packet Switching Protocols Working Group - PSPWG." Eight of the groups were in the USA, one in England and a small group in Norway. "The development comprised investigation of a variety of suggested methods. They were thoroughly studied theoretically and experimentally."

(Lundh, 13)(23) Kirstein adds that in phases of the SATNET research, there were researchers from Germany and Italy involved and there were also meetings at their sites. (24)


Communication via email helped the research, along with in person meetings held every three months that some people from each group attended. Lundh credits DARPA/IPTO with providing the leadership and much of the funding for the work. The research, he emphasizes, "had the main purpose to study and develop resource-sharing networks." (Lundh, 14)
The resources to be shared were the 'power' of the computers, programs and data of various types. The human users were also seen as a significant resource. "Further, and not least," writes Lundh, "it was important to create an environment where human resources could co-operate and strengthen creativity and knowledge." (Lundh, 14)
Lundh lists ten of the research groups that collaborated on Internet research in the 1970s. (Lundh, 16)
1. ARPA in Washington, DC, USA

Advanced Research Projects Agency - Information Processing

Techniques Office
2. BBN in Cambridge, MA, USA

Bolt Beranek and Newman


3. SRI in Menlo Park, CA, USA

Stanford Research International


4. UCLA in Los Angeles, CA, USA

University of California


5. ISI in Marina del Rey, CA, USA

Information Sciences Institute


6. Linkabit in San Diego, CA, USA

Linkabit Corporation


7. Comsat in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

Comsat Corporation


8. MIT in Cambridge, MA, USA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


9. UCL in London, England

University College London


10. NDRE in Kjeller, Norway

Norwegian Defence Research Establishment


"The tone," Lundh writes, "was open and could be heated although always friendly. A certain amount of social occasions usually took place and stimulated the smooth co-operative spirit. ... The assembled group," he explains, "constituted a strong and inspiring research team." (Lundh, 17) When not assembled, "from day to day the researchers exchanged e-mail. It comprised of discussions, experimental results, comments and programs." (Lundh, 17) From 1977, the usual 2 day PSPWG was "supplemented," reports Lundh, by a third day "Internet meeting dedicated to techniques for internet-working of different nets." (Lundh, 17) Also see Appendix.
Following is a list Lundh provides of some of the rotation of meetings. These were meetings between August 1974 and February 1978. (Lundh, 17):
10-11 Aug 74 On the ferry between Stockholm, Sweden and Abo, Finland
4-5 Sep 75 Linkabit Co, San Diego, California

Host: Irwin Jacobs


12-13 Nov 75 UCL, London, England

Host: Peter Kirstein


12-14 Feb 76 DCA and ARPA, Washington, DC.

Host: Bob Kahn


29-30 Apr 76 BBN, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Host: David Walden


29-30 Jun 76 NDRE, Kjeller, Norway

Host: Yngvar Lundh


23-24 Sep 76 UCLA, Los Angeles, California

Host: Leonard Kleinrock


9-10 Dec 76 UCL, London, England

Host: Peter Kirstein


10-11 Mar 77 Comsat, Washington, DC

Host: Estil Hoversten


8-10 Jun 77 NDRE, Kjeller, Norway

Host: Yngvar Lundh


17-19 Aug 77 Linkabit, San Diego, California

Host: Irwin Jacobs

31 Oct-2 Nov 77 BBN, Cambridge, MA

Host: Bob Bressler


1-3 Feb 78 UCLA, Los Angeles, California

Host: Wesley Chu


Dave Mills, who worked at COMSAT, as chief architect for the Internet

from 1977–1982, adds that there were several meetings after the ones Lundh lists, at least until January 1, 1983 when ARPANET computers were officially to change to the TCP/IP protocol. The actual Internet coming out party, Mills writes was at the NCC in 1979. (Mills, Email, April 28, 2003)


The original vision of resource sharing networking was an important source of inspiration for Internet development. Included in this resource sharing were technical resources, and even more significantly, the sharing of human resources, ideas and suggestions.(Lundh, 10)

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