Question of the Day: Who invented the Internet?

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Mark Danielson 12 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #63405

    Dr D.C.Misra

    Allow me to ask such questions now and then. The onus for answer of course is on me but in due course. Meanwhile scratch your brain for the answer.And answer must be documented!

    Dr D.C.Misra

  • #63433

    Mark Danielson

    From Wikianswers:

    There wasn’t just ONE person that invented the internet. The internet is just a way to view files and information that someone puts onto a server. The internet is just a way to access the information.

    Leonard Kleinrock of MIT had published the first paper on packet switching theory in 1961.
    Larry G. Roberts
    DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
    Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn
    Tim Berners-Lee
    Radia Perlman
    Al Gore really did have a substantial part in the US legal framework and governmental issues related to the internet He never said he invented it.

    I can’t wait to see the real answer Dr. Misra. Thank you for the question.

  • #63431

    David Tallan

    Vint Cerf has most often been credited as the “father of the Internet”. His contributions have been recognized repeatedly, with honorary degrees and awards that include the National Medal of Technology, the Turing Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (source: my own knowledge, confirmed for documentation by Wikipedia:

    Of course, he didn’t do it alone.As Mark pointed out, lots of people have been involved. But if it is the Internet we are talking about, I’d have to give the credit to Cerf and Kahn. The Internet is defined by TCP/IP.

  • #63429

    Dr D.C.Misra

    Thanks, Allen, for your reply.Let us wait for some more answers before I attempt a reply of my own.

    Dr D.C.Misra

  • #63427

    Dr D.C.Misra

    Great, Mark! Let us wait for some more replies before I attempt an answer of my own. BTW who is Radia Perlman?

    Dr D.C.Misra

  • #63425

    Mark Danielson

    Radia Perlman invented the spanning tree algorithm in the 1980s. Her spanning tree algorithm allows efficient bridging between separate networks. Without a good bridging solution, large-scale networks like the Internet would be impractical.

    I love this post Dr. Misra. Thanks again.

  • #63423

    Emi Whittle
    Participant“> So what I seem to recall and agree with is that there isn’t one person or just one answer. It was an evolution from military research communications to universities…. starting with simple file sharing to protocol on to the vast www we have today. Those listed would seem to all be the founding fathers, so to speak. Its like saying, “who invented America”… well, a bunch of people helped spawn the origins and foundation for our United States of America and it can’t really be pinned down to only one person….

  • #63421

    Alice M. Fisher

    Here is what I have in my files/and sources (noted below) Enjoy the ride back in history!

    Like many other great ideas, the “network of Networks” grew out of a project that began with a far different intent: a network clled ARPANET, desgined and developed in 1969 by Bolt, Bernek, and Newman under a contract to the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Dept of Defense (ARPA). This project, ARPANET was a contracted network to connect university, military, and defense contractors; it was established to help researchers in the process of sharing information ( not too unlike social networking today), and not coincidentally to study computer-based command and control for the US military. The founders originally only thought of letting only researchers log on and run programs on remote computers-the network grew. They soon added a file transfer capabilities, electronic email and mailing lists to keep people interested in common subjects in communication.

    Imagine if you will how were YOU communicating in 1969? in 1978? In 1988? ? 1998? 2008?
    What tools were you using to get the business of business done?
    In 1969-to 1989, Internet growth Reports show the following historical data:

    Date Hosts | Date Hosts Networks Domains
    12/69 4 07/89 130,000 650 3,900

    USSR launches Sputnik, first artificial earth satellite. In response, US forms the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the following year, within the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish US lead in science and technology applicable to the military (:amk:)

    Leonard Kleinrock, MIT: “Information Flow in Large Communication Nets” (May 31)
    First paper on packet-switching (PS) theory

    J.C.R. Licklider & W. Clark, MIT: “On-Line Man Computer Communication” (August)
    Galactic Network concept encompassing distributed social interactions

    Paul Baran, RAND: “On Distributed Communications Networks”
    Packet-switching networks; no single outage point

    ARPA sponsors study on “cooperative network of time-sharing computers”

    TX-2 at MIT Lincoln Lab and AN/FSQ-32 at System Development Corporation (Santa Monica, CA) are directly linked (without packet switches) via a dedicated 1200bps phone line; Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) computer at ARPA later added to form “The Experimental Network”

    Lawrence G. Roberts, MIT: “Towards a Cooperative Network of Time-Shared Computers” (October)
    First ARPANET plan

    ARPANET design discussions held by Larry Roberts at ARPA IPTO PI meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan (April)
    ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (October)

    First design paper on ARPANET published by Larry Roberts: “Multiple Computer Networks and Intercomputer Communication with first meeting of the three independent packet network teams (RAND, NPL, ARPA)

    National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Middlesex, England develops NPL Data Network under Donald Watts Davies who coins the term packet. The NPL network, an experiment in packet-switching, used 768kbps lines

    PS-network presented to the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)
    Request for quotation for ARPANET (29 Jul) sent out in August; responses received in September
    University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) awarded Network Measurement Center contract in October

    Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN) awarded Packet Switch contract to build Interface Message Processors (IMPs)

    US Senator Edward Kennedy sends a congratulatory telegram to BBN for its million-dollar ARPA contract to build the “Interfaith” Message Processor, and thanking them for their ecumenical efforts

    Network Working Group (NWG), headed by Steve Crocker, loosely organized to develop host level protocols for communication over the ARPANET. (:vgc:)

    ARPANET commissioned by DoD for research into networking

    But, even as ARPANET grew other mini networks were spawning and it became clear that the new methods of communicating would be neccessary.

    As early as 1973, in an era of mainframe computing and a full decade before the Desk top PC revolution took hold, ARPA, under its new anaronym DARPA (Defense Advanced Project Agency) began a program, called the Internetting Project. The goal then was to examin packet swtiching by radio and satellite in to two networks linked to ARPANET. Central to this concept of internetting was the need to overcome the different methods each network used to move its information. DECnet, was a protoal used by networks running digital equipment corporation computers. Novell another for office networks, TCP/IP, for transmission control protocol for Internet Protocol addressing.

    The TCP/IP protocols were developed in 1974, by Robert Kahn, a major player in ARPANET development, and past president of Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), and computer scientist Vinton G. Cerf ( former president of the Internet Society and senior VP of data network architechture at MCI. These “mechanisms” were what allowed the Internet to appear. TCP/IP is not ans was not the only protocol connecting a variety of networks. The Internet was/is comprised of a multinetwork of protocols.(OSI,BITNET, UUCP, USENET to name some)

    In 1983, the US Defense Communications Agency mandated TCP/IP for all ARPANET hosts. In doing so-by setting a standard, it established the first official Internet Standard by which the Internet grew and still grows today. From that point forward, more gateways were added, connect more networks. Many people date the :”TRUE” Internet arrival in 1983, the year when the original ARPANET was split into MILNET-to be used for unclassified military communications and the ARPANET for continuing research into networking. But, wait,as early as 1980, CSNET, a network linking computer science departments in several states became the first true autonomous network where DARPANET was allowed to connect to ARPANET.

    CSNET eventually merged with BITNET in 1989. the ARPANET itself was decomissioned in 1990, and this is when I first got on the Internet my self, through Weber State University, and obtained information from NASA from a green screen for some research I was doing. I remember is was like magic then. My how things have changed. In 1990, ARPANET’s functions were absorbed into a broader-structure of the Internet. But, the two Networks BIT and ARPA had established a workable priniciple: let networks communicate by a set of protocols through gateways. That principle was advanced yet again, by the National Science Foundation, which assumed ARPANET’s functionality within a new network of its own-NSFNET with the purpose of connecting six super computers centers around the country and this began the first true networked program linking sites for the scientific community. TCP/IP was the protocol of choice and by 1986 NSF had expanded into a backbone network-six sites by 56-kilobits per second data circuits-which quickly became overloaded as traffic increased and 115 million packets per month were carried.

    In 1987 Merit and MCI and IBM were working in partnership on the NSFNET backbone. And by 1988-1989 FIX East and FIX West were developed as part of the Federal Interagency eXchange FIX West was located out of NASA Ames Research Center in San Fran, CA and FIX East was located out of the University of Marland. As a reult of this business collaboration with NSFNET ANS was born to operate on the first T1 Network, and therefter a the first T3 network which became operational December 2, 1992-creating a 700 fold increase over and above the 56 KPS days. NSFNET had grown from 195 million packets in 8/1988 to 24 billion packets in 11/1992. The new T3 backbone at NSFNET allow the equivalent of 1,400 single -spaced, hand typed pages of text per second to be transmitted-which was remarkable back in the day. NSFNET was decommisioned in April of 1995, no longer the original first true backbone for Internet traffic in the US. It was taken on by InternetMCI operating then by SprintLink, ANSNET (along with UUNET and PSINET) offering Wide-area connectivity. The original ANS was acquired by America Online in 1994, an indication of how the lines of demarcation between Internet services and other forms of commercial on-line service were just beginning to blur.

    We’ve Come along way baby, and communication has never been the same since.
    Or, have we come full circle?

    For a complete time line of the Internet please refer to Hobbes’ Internet Timeline Copyright (c)1993-2006 by Robert H Zakon, probably the most complete Internet timeline resource.“>

    Alice M. Fisher

    My Sources:
    From Grad School -the following was AU’s mandatory reading for Public Communications Graduates in 1996 and I found it fascinating way back then…The New Internet Navigator by Paul Gilster -1995( forward by Vinton G. Cerf, the Internet Society)

    See Cover and some of Newsweek magazine predictions from 20 years ago to the date: October 24, 1988….

    Predictions of the Past- 10 years ago 1998

    Apple’s 1988 Computing predications for 2008

  • #63419

    Alice M. Fisher

    PS: Internet “Transmissions” were tried out in the very early years with different communication methods, and
    radio frequencies were one of the early trials. Hence the partial relationship to the cyperspace referance ( radio air waves in space) which I believe originally had to do with electro magnetic transmissions.
    Just a thought.

    Alice M. Fisher

  • #63417

    Mark Danielson

    Now that’s an answer Alice. Wow.

  • #63415

    Adriel Hampton

    Ditto. I’m giddy with information overload.

  • #63413

    Dr D.C.Misra

    Wow, what a reply! And where did you find all this info which is real treasure? It is real treat to see the reply. Still wait for my answer. Also let me take up with GovLoop if he can give us some bonus points for the best reply, to be decided by a judge. And the winner can be judge for the next question. Perhaps one question per week will be in order.

    Dr D.C.Misra

  • #63411

    Alice M. Fisher

    My first source noted at the end of the post is the primary source. I personally have a hard copy of the book from 1995, which provides a brief history. It is hard for me to get rid of “real” books that have some awesome information contained in them. And then, if you go to the Internet Society, it is even a greater treasure trove of historical Internet information at

    Alice Fisher

  • #63409

    Lolly Wonnacott

    Definitely will need to give credit to many folks. A good start would be DOD’s APRNET project and folks at BBN. If you go higher level Internet – into www apsects, emails, etc. You would need to include others like Tim Berners Lee. Might even consider giving credit to some of the lower level protocols on the Internet such as Ethernet, and then include folks like Bob Metcalfe and his team. In a nutshell, some amazing people working well together.

  • #63407

    Dr D.C.Misra

    And the Winner is…………..Alice Fisher!

    Congratulations, Alice.

    As a token of appreciation of your reply, you will be the judge for the next round beginning to-day and ending next Friday, December 19. I hope you will accept it.

    Read the next discussion: Question of the week-2.

    This discussion is closed.

    Dr D.C.Misra

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