updated 05:20 pm EDT, Fri October 30, 2009
The Internet celebrates being 40 years old
The Internet has turned 40 years old this week, with its beginnings occurring at 9pm on October 29th, 1969. On that day, engineers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and Stanford Research Institute (SRI) nearly 400 miles away sent data over the first two nodes. Back then, the Internet was known as Arpanet, after the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), which commissioned its creation.
Charlie Kline at UCLA tested the network by logging into a Scientific Data Systems computer at SRI, where Bill Duvall was receiving it. The system crashed on the first attempt, but was restored an hour and a half later.
Dr. Larry Roberts oversaw this exchange from Washington, and the MIT scientist is credited for designing the fundamental technical specification of the Arpanet. All subsequent hardware for the Arpanet was based on his work.
The head of ARPA's Information Processing Techniques Office, Bob Taylor, wanted Arpanet to help save money by eliminating the need for duplicate computers by each institution he funded for storing the same databases and research for easy access. The institutions jumped onboard when they realized how much computing power they could free up by accessing Arpanet.
In December of 1969, Arpanet had four nodes and by 1972, 37. This is when the networks were connected to each other, and the network of networks that is the Internet was created.
The Arpanet changed its name to the Internet in the 1970s, though the concept remained the same.
Dr. Roberts is now heading a DARPA research project to prepare the Internet for the future. Him and others are working on security improvements, fair use and high quality for such uses as remote surgeries. [via BBC]