Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bolt, Beranek and Newman
Bolt, Beranek and Newman (now called BBN Technologies) is a high technology company that provides research and development services. BBN is based next to Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is also a defense contractor, primarily for DARPA.
Founded in 1947 by Leo Beranek and Richard Bolt, both professors at MIT, with Bolt's former student Robert Newman, Bolt, Beranek and Newman started life as an acoustical consulting company. Their first contract was consultation for the design of the acoustics of the United Nations Assembly Hall in New York.
Work in acoustics then required substantial calculations which led to an interest and later business opportunities in computing. BBN bought a number of computers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, most noticeably the first production PDP-1 from Digital Equipment Corporation. Although BBN still has a substantial interest in acoustics, it is now better known for its activities in computing.
Some of BBN's developments of note are the implementation and operation of the ARPANET, the first person-to-person network email sent, the invention of the @ sign in an email address, the first router and the development of the TCP protocol. Other well-known BBN innovations include the first time-sharing system, the first modem, the LOGO programming language, the TENEX operating system, the Colossal Cave Adventure (ADVENT) game, the first link-state routing protocol, and a series of mobile ad hoc networks starting in the 1970s. BBN is also well-known for its parallel computing systems, including the Pluribus, and the BBN Butterfly computers, which have been used for such tasks as warfare simulation for the U.S. Navy.
A number of well-known computer luminaries have worked fulltime or part-time at BBN, including Jerry Burchfiel, Ed Fredkin, Bob Kahn, J. C. R. Licklider, John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Seymour Papert, and Ray Tomlinson.
BBN is currently leading a wide range of R&D projects, including the standardization effort for the Internet security architecture (IPsec), the networking technology in the JTRS communication system, mobile ad hoc networks, advanced speech recognition, and quantum cryptography.
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