History of the Internet
And the World Wide Web
During the cold war in the 1960's, the Rand Corporation (military think-tank) wanted to figure out how US government agencies could communicate with each other after a nuclear attack. The few communication networks at the time were designed on a serial point-to-point concept, thus wholly dependent on each link. If one link was destroyed, the entire network would become useless since there was no way of getting around the broken section.
An idea was conceived for a new type of network that more closely resembled a fishnet. If one link was destroyed the information would be able to find a new path around inoperable links. The US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Association (ARPA) conceives the ARPANET to link various national researchers. In 1969 the first host systems link four major universities in a pilot project; Stanford Research Institute, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Utah. The original concept of a military post-nuclear strategy gradually evolved into a research and development information sharing system among twenty-three university/government host sites throughout the country with e-mail becoming the largest utilization of the system.
In a few years (1973) the ARPANET became international with the inclusion of the University College in London, England, and the Royal Radar Establishment in Norway. The commercial version named Telenet goes online in 1974, and by the latter part of the decade, the general public "gets wind" of the system's existence. In 1979, two students from Duke University in collaboration with another student at the University of North Carolina develop USENET news groups for people all over the world to join in various discussions.
In the beginning of the 1980's a new protocol (TCP/IP) is created to make the loose collection of ARPANET networks communicate with one standard. In 1982 the word "Internet" is first used to generally describe the overall complex of inter-related networked systems. This decade also witnessed an explosion of home & office desktop computers. No longer do universities and government agencies have exclusive use of the computer. William Gibson coins the term "cyberspace" in his book Neuromancer.
With the proliferation of host sites and an escalating number of public users (and too little emphasis on security), the first virus, called the "Worm," renders thousands of Internet sites inoperable on November 1, 1988. Immediately the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) is organized to formulate a strategy to combat malicious activity on the Internet.
ARPANET is officially decommissioned in 1990. Even though the system dynamically progressed, most information traveling over the Internet was complex, and in some cases, required an inordinate amount of characters to be typed in the proper sequence. Tim Berners-Lee working at CERN High-Energy Physics Laboratories in Geneva, Switzerland, proposed using a hypertext interface (Enquire) to move around the Internet without so much typing.
Soon after, the World-Wide-Web program was created in October of 1990. Marc Andreesen and a group of student programmers at NCSA (the National Center for Supercomputing Applications) located at the University of Illinois developed a browser called Mosaic. Andreesen was hired away from NCSA by Jim Clark, and together they founded a company called Mosaic Communications. The name was soon changed to Netscape.
The Internet was twenty-five years old in 1994 with more than 35 million people from among 145+ countries using it. Host sites number 9+ million and backbone traffic exceeds 10 trillion bytes per month. What started out as a military strategy has become a public means of communication.
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high,
I cannot attain unto it."