Artifact Details


Walden, David C. oral history

Catalog Number





A California native, David Walden graduated with a degree in math from San Francisco State College in 1964. A few years later he began graduate study in computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His first job out of college was as a computer programmer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. In 1967 he moved to Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN), where in 1968–69 he wrote software for the team that had won the bid to develop the ARPANET packet switch. Led by Frank Heart, this seven-person group developed the hardware, including the iconic IMP (Interface Message Processor) and much of the software for the ARPANET—one of the very first general-purpose computer networks and a direct ancestor of the Internet. The group was also the official Network Operations Center (NOC) for the new network.

With the exception of one year from 1970–71 when he worked for Norsk Data Elektronikk in Oslo, Norwary, developing the second operational packet-switching network, Mr. Walden remained at BBN for the rest of his business career. He continued to be involved in the development of the Internet and related technologies through about 1980. He then evolved into a technology manager and later a general manager. He retired from business in 1995 and since then has written, edited, and published in the areas of improving business management, computing history, and typesetting for the Center for Quality of Management, IEEE Computer Society’s Annals of the History of Computing and History Committee, and for the TeX Users Group.




Hendrie, Gardner, Interviewer
Walden, David, Interviewee
Weber, Marc, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Cambridge, MA, USA


30 p.

Copyright Holder

Computer History Museum




ARPANET; Walden, David; Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Interface Message Processor (IMP); Heart, Frank; Roberts, Larry; Crocker, Steve; Lincoln Laboratory; National Security Agency (NSA)

Collection Title

Oral history collection

Lot Number