web site profiles ten individuals whose work has contributed significantly
to the development of the Internet. It is my master’s project.
not intended to be an exhaustive history, nor is it suggested that
these ten “pioneers” are the only individuals who have made meaningful
World War II, a man named Vannevar Bush facilitated
a relationship between the federal government, the American scientific
community, and business. After the war, he helped institutionalize
that relationship. As a result, organizations like the National Science
Foundation and Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), were created.
It was at ARPA that the Internet first began. Bush also wrote a paper
We May Think,” in 1945. In this paper he described a theoretical
storage and retrieval device, called a “memex,” which would use a
system remarkably similar to what we now call hypertext.
Advanced Research Projects Agency was created by President Dwight
Eisenhower after the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite in October,
1957. The Soviet launch caused a crisis in American confidence. ARPA
was formed to ensure that America would not again be caught off guard
on the technological frontier. In 1962, J.C.R.
went to work for ARPA. Licklider, a psychologist and computer scientist,
believed that computers could be used to augment human thinking and
suggested that a computer network be established to allow ARPA research
contractors to communicate information with each other efficiently.
Licklider did not actually build his proposed network, but his idea
lived on when he left ARPA in 1964.
Taylor, who was the director of ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques
Office (IPTO) from 1966-1969, wanted to find an efficient
way to allow various IPTO contractors to share computing resources.
He picked up on Licklider’s old idea of a network and hired Larry
Roberts to head the project. Roberts would be the main architect
of a new computer network that would be known as the ARPANET. Thus
the beginnings of the Internet were underway.
architecture of the ARPANET relied heavily
on the ideas of Paul Baran who co-invented
a new system known as packet-switching.( A British computer scientist,
Donald Davies, independently came up with his own theories of packet-switching).
Baran also suggested that the network be designed as a distributed
network. This design, which included a high level of redundancy, would
make the network more robust in the case of a nuclear attack. This
is probably where the myth that the Internet was created as a communications
network for the event of a nuclear war comes from. As a distributed
network the ARPANET definitely was robust, and possibly could have
withstood a nuclear attack, but the chief goal of its creators was
to facilitate normal communications between researchers.
ARPANET connected large mainframe computers together via smaller gateway
computers, or routers, known as Interface Message Processors (IMPs).
On September 1, 1969, the first IMP arrived at UCLA. A month later
the second one was installed at Stanford. The UC Santa Barbara and
then the University of Utah.
ARPANET continued to grow. Networking technology continued to develop
as people like Bob Metcalfe, who invented
Ethernet, and Douglas Engelbart, inventor
of the mouse among other
things, pushed the technology’s envelope. Other computer networks,
like Hawaii’s ALOHANET and the satellite linked network SATNET, began
to spring up. Soon the were many different
computer networks all over the world, but they
could not communicate with one another because they used different
protocols, or standards for transmitting data. Then in 1974, Vint
Cerf (known to some as the “father of the Internet”), along with
Bob Kahn, wrote a new protocol, TCP (Transmission Control Protocol,
that would become the accepted standard. The implementation of TCP
allowed the various networks to connect into a true “internet.”
Internet became widely popular in the computer and scientific research
communities. By the 1980’s most universities and research-oriented
institutions had computers that were connected to the Internet.
World Wide Web
the 1970’s, Ted Nelson coined the term “hypertext,”
to describe a
system for nonlinear linking of documents directly inspired by the
works of Vannevar Bush. Using hypertext, Tim Berners-Lee
created a new way of interacting with the Internet in 1990-the World
Wide Web. His system made it much easier to share and find data on
the Internet. The World Wide Web was further augmented
by others who created new software and technologies to make it more
functional. For instance, Marc Andreesen
created a new browser called Mosaic and then led the team that created
World Wide Web led to widespread popularity for the Internet. Today
the web continues to grow and change in sometimes unpredictable ways.
list of suggested books for further reading.*
the Author |