Larry Roberts presented his plans for a national time-sharing computer network to the Intergalactic Network at a computer conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1967. Most of the East Coast investigators, who were older, better funded, and more established than the West Coast researchers, responded negatively to the idea of adding networking. Few of the researchers were interested in sharing information an resources. Engelbart, however, was excited, as it mirrored his own goals.
After the meeting, one investigator who was skeptical of the idea, Wes Clark, suggested to Roberts that instead of adding networking capabilities to each of the host computers at the varied sites, they could build separate dedicated computers to route information between hosts and the network. Roberts sent out a memorandum describing Clark's idea, calling the computers "interface message processors".