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A HISTORY OF COMPUTER COMMUNICATIONS: 1968 -1988

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Ken Pogran

Ken Pogran played an instrumental role in the transfer of the UC Irvine Version I LNI (Local Network Interface) to MIT. With DARPA’s encouragement, that began the journey of a version of token ring technology from UC Irvine through MIT’s LCS (Laboratory of Computer Science) to Proteon. I wanted to interview Ken to learn his views on how, and if, that version of token ring LAN technology was passed to IBM or, in his opinion, influenced IBM in any way. Ken also had a unique vantage point to opine on the many individuals who shaped the early history of local area networking (LAN).

In this interview, Ken describes his work at MIT with the Multics operating system, his first encounter with the Arpanet, and collaboration with the small group of computer networking experts in the early 1970s. Pogran describes collaboration on local area networking technologies with various groups at MIT, as well as with Bob Metcalfe at Xerox, Dave Farber at UC Irvine, and various experts at the networking company Proteon. He also reflects on the technological progression from networking technologies in the 1970s to internetworking in the 1980s.

Ken Pogran worked as a MIT graduate student at Project MAC from 1970 to 1972. He then worked as a research staffer at the MIT Laboratory of Computer Science (LCS) from 1972 to 1980. In 1980, Ken moved to Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) to continue his research in LAN technologies.

I met Ken during the lunch hour at his office at BBN. It turned out that we had some extra time that we needed for he was able to contribute details that made, and make, many of the events surrounding the evolution of LAN technologies in the 1970’s “come to life.” He worked closely with Jerry Saltzer and Dave Clark, two professors in the MIT LCS, and both whom I also interviewed. The interested reader should also read the Robert Metcalfe, Dave Farber, Robert Kahn and Howard Salween interviews.

Keywords: MIT, Arpanet, Ethernet, Xerox PARC, token ring, UC Irvine, Proteon

Ken Pogran Interviewed by James Pelkey 10/27/88