On October 29, 1969, UCLA grad student Charley Kline sat in a room in Boelter Hall and typed the first message on the ARPANET, the precursor to the modern internet. He wrote “lo;” before he could get to the “g” in “login” the system crashed.
The ARPANET was a defense department project centered on the first router, the Interface Message Processor. The IMP was built by BBN Technologies (now a subsidiary of Raytheon) and based on theoretical work done by UCLA Professor Leonard Kleinrock (he was the other person in the room when Kline typed “lo”). It cost about $100,000.
The ARPANET’s big breakthrough was that it could network all different kinds of hardware and software. Until then, only uniform systems had been networked together. UCLA’s lab had a Sigma 7 from Scientific Data Systems; Kline’s message was sent to Stanford Research Institute, which had an SDS 940.