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RFC 1121 - Act one - the poems


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Network Working Group                                    J. Postel (ISI)
Request for Comments:  1121                          L. Kleinrock (UCLA)
                                                           V. Cerf (NRI)
                                                         B. Boehm (UCLA)
                                                          September 1989

                          Act One - The Poems

Status of this Memo

   This RFC presents a collection of poems that were presented at "Act
   One", a symposium held partially in celebration of the 20th
   anniversary of the ARPANET.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Introduction

   The Computer Science Department of the University of California, Los
   Angeles (UCLA) organized a Symposium on Very High Speed Information
   Networks as the first in a projected series of meetings on Advanced
   Computer Technologies, thus ACT ONE.  The time was chosen to also
   commemorate the 20th anniversary of the installation of the first
   Interface Message Processor (IMP) on the ARPANET which took place at
   UCLA.

   The Symposium took on a theatrical theme and a few of the speakers
   could not resist the temptation to commit poetry.  This memo is an
   attempt to capture the result.

The Poems

                                  WELCOME
                                    by
                             Leonard Kleinrock

   We've gathered here for two days to examine and debate
   And reflect on data networks and as well to celebrate.
   To recognize the leaders and recount the path we took.
   We'll begin with how it happened; for it's time to take a look.

   Yes, the history is legend and the pioneers are here.
   Listen to the story - it's our job to make it clear.
   We'll tell you where we are now and where we'll likely go.
   So welcome to ACT ONE, folks.  Sit back - enjoy the show!!

                              ODE TO A QUEUE
                                    by
                             Leonard Kleinrock

                   In the 20 years of funding
                   Many fields has DARPA led.
                   But the finest thing that they did bring
                   Was the analytic thread.

                   By that I mean they nurtured
                   Quantitative research tools.
                   And they always felt for all their gelt
                   They got principles and rules.

                   Indeed a wealth of knowledge
                   Was uncovered and was new.
                   And the common thread with which we led
                   Was the analytic queue!

                   Now a queue may have one server.
                   If there's more, they form a team.
                   Its dearest wish is just to fish
                   In a quiet Poisson stream.

                   If you want to model networks
                   Or a complex data flow
                   A queue's the key to help you see
                   All the things you need to know.

                   So the next time you feel lonely
                   And wonder what to do,
                   You'll soon feel fine if you join the line
                   Of an analytic queue!

                           THE PAST IS PROLOGUE
                                    by
                             Leonard Kleinrock

                   The past is prologue so they say.
                   So Scene 1 was played today.
                   It set the stage to point the way
                   To high speed nets on Friday.

                   And old slow IMP, a costly link,
                   Codes to fix the lines that stink,
                   Ideas born in tanks that think,
                   Tomorrow's distance sure to shrink.

                   But first tonight we'll drink and eat.
                   We'll take some time good friends to greet.
                   Hear Bible class from Danny's seat.
                   Those good old days were bittersweet!

                               THE BIG BANG!
                       (or the birth of the ARPANET)
                                    by
                             Leonard Kleinrock

   It was back in '67 that the clan agreed to meet.
   The gangsters and the planners were a breed damned hard to beat.
   The goal we set was honest and the need was clear to all:
   Connect those big old mainframes and the minis, lest they fall.

   The spec was set quite rigid:  it must work without a hitch.
   It should stand a single failure with an unattended switch.
   Files at hefty throughput 'cross the ARPANET must zip.
   Send the interactive traffic on a quarter second trip.

   The spec went out to bidders and t'was BBN that won.
   They worked on soft and hardware and they all got paid for fun.
   We decided that the first node would be we who are your hosts
   And so today you're gathered here while UCLA boasts.

   I suspect you might be asking "What means FIRST node on the net?"
   Well frankly, it meant trouble, 'specially since no specs were set.
   For you see the interface between the nascent IMP and HOST
   Was a confidential secret from us folks on the West coast.

   BBN had promised that the IMP was running late.
   We welcomed any slippage in the deadly scheduled date.
   But one day after Labor Day, it was plopped down at our gate!
   Those dirty rotten scoundrels sent the damned thing out air freight!

   As I recall that Tuesday, it makes me want to cry.
   Everybody's brother came to blame the other guy!
   Folks were there from ARPA, GTE and Honeywell.
   UCLA and ATT and all were scared as hell.

   We cautiously connected and the bits began to flow.
   The pieces really functioned - just why I still don't know.
   Messages were moving pretty well by Wednesday morn.
   All the rest is history - packet switching had been born!

                         ROSENCRANTZ AND ETHERNET
                                    by
                                 Vint Cerf

   All the world's a net!  And all the data in it merely packets
   come to store-and-forward in the queues a while and then are
   heard no more.  'Tis a network waiting to be switched!

   To switch or not to switch?  That is the question.  Whether
   'tis wiser in the net to suffer the store and forward of
   stochastic networks or to raise up circuits against a sea
   of packets and, by dedication, serve them.

   To net, to switch.  To switch, perchance to slip!
   Aye, there's the rub.  For in that choice of switch,
   what loops may lurk, when we have shuffled through
   this Banyan net?  Puzzles the will, initiates symposia,
   stirs endless debate and gives rise to uncontrolled
   flights of poetry beyond recompense!

                                 UNTITLED
                                    by
                                Barry Boehm

                   Paul Baran came out of the wood
                   With a message first misunderstood
                      But despite dangers lurking
                      The IMP's were soon working
                   And ARPA did see it was good.

                   So in place of our early myopia
                   We now have a net cornucopia
                      With IMP's, TIP's, and LAN's
                      Wideband VAN's, MAN's, and WAN's
                   And prospects of World Net Utopia.

                   But though we must wind up the clock
                   With thoughts of downstream feature shock
                      We all be can mollified
                      For there's no one more qualified
                   To discuss this than Leonard Kleinrock.

Notes

   The Symposium was held August 17 & 18, 1989, a Thursday and Friday.

   "Welcome" was presented on Thursday morning during the Overture.

   "Ode to a Queue" was presented in the Thursday morning session on
   "Giant Steps Forward: Technology Payoffs".

   "The Past is Prologue" was presented at the end of the Thursday
   afternoon sessions.

   "The Big Bang!" was presented during the after dinner events on
   Thursday night.

   "Rosencrantz and Ethernet" was presented at the morning session on
   Friday on "Communication Technologies in the next Millenium" (note
   that this version may differ slightly from the actual presentation
   since it was reconstructed from human memory several weeks later).

   The untitled poem by Barry Boehm was presented in the Friday
   afternoon session on "Impact on Government, Commerce and Citizenry".
   Barry gave his talk on "The Software Challenge to Our Technical
   Aspirations" then introduced the next speaker with this poem.

Security Considerations

   None.

Authors' Addresses

   Jon Postel
   USC/Information Sciences Institute
   4676 Admiralty Way
   Marina del Rey,  CA  90292-6695

   Phone: 213-822-1511

   EMail: Postel@ISI.EDU

   Leonard Kleinrock
   University of California
   Computer Science Department
   3732G Boelter Hall
   Los Angeles, CA 90024-1600

   Phone: 213-825-2543

   EMail: lk@CS.UCLA.EDU

   Vinton G. Cerf
   Corporation for National Research Initiatives
   1895 Preston White Drive, Suite 100
   Reston, VA 22091

   Phone: 703-620-8990

   EMail: VCerf@NRI.RESTON.VA.US

   Barry Boehm
   University of California
   Computer Science Department
   3732 Boelter Hall
   Los Angeles, CA 90024-1600

   Phone: 213-825-8137

   EMail: boehm@CS.UCLA.EDU

 

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