The conceptual foundation
for creation of the Internet was largely created by three individuals and
a research conference, each of which changed the way we thought about technology
by accurately predicting its future:
Vannevar Bush wrote the first visionary description
of the potential uses for information technology with his description of the
"memex" automated library system.
Wiener invented the field of Cybernetics, inspiring future researchers
to focus on the use of technology to extend human capabilities.
McLuhan made the idea of a global village interconnected by an electronic
nervous system part of our popular culture.
In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, Sputnik I, triggering
US President Dwight Eisenhower to create the ARPA
agency to regain the technological lead in the arms race. ARPA appointed J.C.R.
Licklider to head the new IPTO organization
with a mandate to further the research of the SAGE
program and help protect the US against a space-based nuclear attack. Licklider
evangelized within the IPTO about the potential benefits of a country-wide communications
network, influencing his successors to hire Lawrence
Roberts to implement his vision.
Roberts led development of the
network, based on the new idea of packet switching invented by Paul
RAND, and a few years later by Donald Davies at
Physical Laboratory. A special computer called an Interface
Message Processor was developed to realize the design, and the
ARPANET went live in early October, 1969. The first communications
were between Leonard Kleinrock's research
center at the University of California at Los Angeles, and Douglas
Engelbart's center at the Stanford Research Institute.
networking protocol used on the ARPANET was the Network
Control Program. In 1983, it was replaced with the TCP/IP
protocol invented Wby Robert Kahn, Vinton
Cerf, and others, which quickly became the most widely used network protocol
in the world.
In 1990, the ARPANET was retired and transferred to the NSFNET.
The NSFNET was soon connected to the CSNET, which
linked Universities around North America, and then to the EUnet,
which connected research facilities in Europe. Thanks in part to the NSF's enlightened
management, and fueled by the popularity of the web, the use of the Internet exploded
after 1990, causing the US Government to transfer management to independent
organizations starting in 1995.
And here we are.