It was far too many hours past midnight, yet the MIT graduate student was still chipping away at his Ph.D. dissertation on the computer. Yes, thecomputer. In 1962, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories only had one, and it took up the entire basement. The TX-2 cost millions of dollars, so the grad student was careful not to make any wrong moves that might cause a malfunction and set the lab back thousands in repairs. But a high-pitched noise was interrupting the machine’s quiet hum. Panicking, the grad student started to inspect each module, trying to figure out which of them was going to bring his pursuit of a doctorate to a dead end. He slowly let his gaze wander up one of the panels, only to find … a set of eyes staring right back at him.
The eyes belonged to fellow Ph.D. student Larry Roberts, who was watching his classmate from an empty slot in the computer rack. Roberts broke out into a huge grin and just kept going: beeeeeeep.