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 consulation 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. 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.
BBN creates large multi-processor systems for warfare simulation for the U.S. Navy.