- Bob Taylor
The IPTO funded the research that led to
the development of the ARPANET.
It was variously headed over the years by Licklider, Sutherland,
Taylor, and Roberts as described below.
Licklider. In 1962, Jack Ruina, Director of ARPA,
hired J.C.R. Licklider to
be the first Director of the new Information Processing Techniques
Office (IPTO). The original mandate of the office was to extend
the research carried out into computerization of air defense by
the SAGE program to other military
command and control systems. In particular, the IPTO was to build
on SAGE's development of one of the first wide area computer networks
for the cross country radar defense system, and build a survivable
electronic network to interconnect the key DoD sites at the Pentagon, Cheyenne
Mountain, and SAC HQ.
The IPTO funded research into advanced computer and network technologies,
and commissioned thirteen research groups to perform research into
technologies related to human computer interaction and distributed
systems. Each group was given a budget thirty to forty times as
large as a normal research grant, complete discretion as to its
use, and access to state-of-the-art technology at the following
- Carnegie-Mellon University
- RAND Corporation
- Stanford Research Institute
- System Development Corporation
- University of California at Berkeley, Santa Barbara, and Los
- University of South Carolina
- University of Utah
In 1963, Licklider funded a research project through the IPTO,
headed by Robert Fano at MIT called Project MAC, which explored
establishment of communities on time-sharing computers. The project
monitored the interactions between a community of users using time-shared
communication, and found that the technology encouraged the establishment
of real, if somewhat unique, electronic relationships among people
across distances. This example had a lasting effect on the IPTO
and wider research community as a prototype of the benefits of
Licklider's vision of a universal network greatly influenced his
successors at the IPTO, Ivan Sutherland, Bob Taylor, and MIT researcher Lawrence
Roberts, and shaped the subsequent research that led to
development of the Internet.
Sutherland. In July, 1964, Licklider went to work for IBM,
and handed over directorship of the IPTO to its second Director, Ivan
Sutherland, who had created the revolutionary Sketchpad program
for storing computer displays in memory where they could be modified,
processed, copied, and redrawn. Sutherland's program enabled the
creation of the field of computer graphics that has led to all
the graphical displays available today.
In 1965, Sutherland gave Lawrence Roberts at MIT an IPTO contract
to further develop the technology of computer networking. Roberts
and Thomas Merrill then implemented the first packet exchange by
dial-up telephone connection, between a TX-2 computer at MIT and
a Q-32 computer in California.
Taylor. In 1966, Sutherland handed over directorship of
the IPTO to its third Director, Robert Taylor, who had been powerfully
influenced by Licklider, and was coincidentally (like Licklider)
a researcher in psychoacoustics.
Taylor had three different terminals in his IPTO office to connect
to three different research sites, and realized this architecture
would severely limit his ability to scale access to multiple sites.
He dreamed of connecting a single terminal to a network with access
to multiple sites, and from his position in the Pentagon he could
lobby for the funding to implement it the vision.
In 1966, DARPA head Charlie Hertzfeld promised Taylor a million
dollars for the IPTO to build a distributed communications network
if he could get it organized. Taylor was impressed by Roberts work,
him to come on board to led the effort. When Roberts resisted,
Taylor asked Hertzfeld to get the Director of Lincoln Labs to pressure
Roberts to reconsider, which eventually caused Roberts to relent
and join the IPTO as Chief Scientist in December, 1966.
When Roberts gave
the report titled Resource
Sharing Computer Networks
describing the plan to build the ARPANET to Taylor
on June 3, 1968, Taylor approved it 18 days later on June 21, leading directly
to the ARPANET's creation fourteen
Roberts. Three years later when the ARPANET was well on its way, Taylor
handed over directorship of the IPTO to Roberts in September, 1969.
Licklider. When Roberts left ARPA to become CEO of Telenet, Licklider
returned again as IPTO Director in October, 1973, to complete the organization's