Internet architect Leonard Kleinrock receives UCLA Medal

Faculty and Staff

Leonard Kleinrock, distinguished professor of computer science and one of the world’s foremost internet pioneers, was awarded the UCLA Medal, the campus’s highest honor, for his remarkable contributions in providing the intellectual foundation for the modern technical age.

The medal is given to those with exceptionally distinguished academic and professional achievement and whose bodies of work or contributions to society illustrate the highest ideals of UCLA. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, UCLA alumna and former astronaut Dr. Anna Lee Fisher and basketball coaching legend John Wooden have been among the recipients.

Kleinrock’s enduring curiosity of how one could best apply scientific principles to design and build structures was first spurred as a young boy when he built a crystal radio from a description in a Superman comic. His fascination with electronics led him to attend The City College of New York and earn a degree in electrical engineering entirely at night. He went on to earn master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from MIT.

In 1962, as a graduate student, Kleinrock developed the mathematical theory of packet-switching, the technology that underpins the internet. A year later, he joined the faculty at UCLA where his efforts have benefited the public well beyond the demands of academic tradition.

At UCLA, Kleinrock’s mathematical theory was put into practice on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s fledgling Arpanet network, the precursor to today’s internet.

Read more on UCLA Newsroom.